2022.5 in Review

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From 2014-2021, I was pretty consistent with writing year-in-review posts at the end of the year. In each of these, I would recount some things I was proud of from the year before, highlight projects I launched, talk about my challenges, and list my goals for the coming year. I love doing this at the end of the year because it’s a retrospective that sets me up for the year ahead, and it’s neat to look back on years past.

But I did skip my 2022 year-in-review post. There are a few reasons why:

  1. I started hating my blogging platform. My personal site was built on Jekyll and the codebase was over 7 years old. I was just tired of fighting with older node dependencies and gulp, and really wanted a new platform on which to write.
  2. I took a month-long trip in December (a mini-sabattical if you will) to go to Thailand and recover from a bit of burnout. So I planned to write the review in January, but January turned out to have a lot going on.
  3. As a manager and someone who does more high-level work now, it’s a lot harder to talk about work accomplishments and tribulations. They’re a lot less obvious to point out than before, and I’m still not quite sure how to talk about my work in the same way that I used to.

So I made just one resolution for the year, and that was to re-launch my personal site, which I did (yay!), and I love the new setup.

Now that I have a new personal blog, and because I feel like it’s better late than never, I’ll do a mini year-in-review post just for the consistency and try to recount 2022’s accomplishments 6 months later.

🏆 Highlights

Disco with one of our #standwithukraine protest signs.
An absolutely epic sunset during a team offsite in New York City.
My favorite photo from the Maldives to cap out the year.

🎥 Content Production

🎙 The CSS Podcast

Adam and I continued the CSS Podcast in 2022 with Season 3, which consisted of 9 episodes in the fall. We totaled over 1M downloads this year (986K podcast downloads and 50K Youtube views), which is awesome because our audience and download count has been growing each year despite releasing fewer episodes in 2022.

This season focused on new and upcoming CSS APIs, with our most popular episodes being:

  1. 058: Cascade Layers
  2. 059: Container Queries
  3. 061: :has()

📺 Videos

I tried started doing some very informal Youtube content last year and I called it CSS in 5 minutes. It was fun but it was also hard to keep up with consistently, so I didn’t add pressure to myself to do so. I did end up posting 3 videos about cascade layers, how !important works, and the revert and revert-layer keywords. In total, these got around 21k views.

🗣 Speaking

I only spoke at one in-person event this year (towards the end of the year), but I recorded three talks for virtual events, including a talk on container queries for An Event Apart, a dual talk with Jake Archibald on “What’s New in Web” for Google I/O, and an overview on “What’s new in Web UI” for NextJS Conf.

On the set of our Google I/O talk recording session.

The in-person conference was Shift Conference in Zagreb, Croatia, where I also spoke on the State of Web UI. This was such an amazing event! It really re-energized me after years of depressing virtual-only events and I met some great folks who quickly became some close-knit ecosystem friends. I also directly saw the power of reaching folks who aren’t already in your community (which is a big focus for 2023: focusing on reaching folks who aren’t already following the UI space like JS-focused devs and designers who might not know about the features coming and how much they’d benefit from them).

✍🏼 Writing

I only wrote 4 blog posts in 2022. That’s definitely the least I’ve written since I started tracking, which makes me a bit sad to realize and also makes me want to write more! I wrote about:

That probably just sums up how busy my year was in many other ways, and how my role has shifted a lot. Finding time to write, experiment, build demos, and create content is definitely a lot more difficult than it used to be. But wow do I want to make sure I do more in 2023 (and honestly, I already have)! But its nice to do this mid-year review to remind myself.

💼 Career

Last year-in-review, I wrote about all of the things I was excited about for the web platform. And we’re really seeing the fruits of a lot of behind-the-scenes labor land now. 2022 was a huge year for the web platform, and I still very much feel in the middle of an exciting revolution for front-end UI development.

It was a pretty big year for my career growth. I got promoted at the start of the year, got to promote a teammate (even better!), and I grew the team 😊 hiring two new CSS/UI developer relations engineers to join us in this journey. I’ve been a manager for a little over two years now, but honestly it feels a lot longer after managing through the rollercoaster of the past few years. I do feel that I’m getting the hang of it but still have a lot to learn.

✈️ Travel

This was a big year for travel for me, too. At the start of the year, I did a quick weekend trip to Puerto Rico with my husband, and at the end of the year we spent the month of December traveling to Dubai, Thailand, and the Maldives. In between, I traveled to Amsterdam for the CSS Day conference and to Zagreb, Croatia for the Shift conference.

Captures from Zagreb, Croatia

In Thailand, I spent a lot of time on the sea (Phuket, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi), in the north (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai), and explored the city of Bangkok. It was such a magical trip, and I feel very grateful that I have a job which supported a trip like this. I did a lot of snorkeling, hiking, and generally a lot of exploring. I’ve wanted to go to Thailand for a long time, so it was pretty epic to be able to spend so much time there. I finally feel settled after my original booked trip to Thailand in February 2020 was uh… interrupted.

Biking around and exploring ancient Ayutthaya, about an hour north of Bangkok.

Outside of a temple on the route north from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.
Koh Phi Phi lagoon.
Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi, which I hiked while very sick with food poisoning 🥴.

📚 Books

I read 15 books this year. Wow I didn’t realize it was so many! I did a lot of fiction reading in 2022, and read more physical and digital books than before (as opposed to my usual consumption method of audiobooks). My favorite (all of which I rated a 4.5 or above) were:

The Night Circus is probably the one I would generally recommend most from last year’s reading list. It’s fun and fantastical and I loved the world-building.

👀 2022 Resolutions Review

Last year, my goal was to optimize for happiness.

“I’m going to be asking myself: “does this make me or the people around me happy?” and optimize for that. I feel like I got very burnt out by the end of 2021, and I want to avoid that in 2022.”

Looking at the more specific list I enumerated: I did travel for leisure more — I finally did that bucket list trip I wanted to do. And I did stay (relatively) fit. And I did continue to serve the developer community. I did not buy a home yet or really focus on spiritual growth. We’re still in a transient state, but maybe thats okay. I also think I have grown as a better partner, manager, and coworker over the past year.

Overall, I’m not sure how well I did regarding “optimizing for happiness”, and I’m not sure how much I avoided getting burnt out by the end of the year, but I did grow a lot and enjoyed doing more of the things I care about.

🎉 2023 Resolutions

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I only had one resolution for 2023 and that was to redesign and rebuild my personal site. And well, spoiler alert: I did it 🥳

This site is built using Astro.js and hosted on Netlify. It’s so nice having my own playground here again thats in a state I like. I plan to add a bunch more progressive enhancements for new UI features too. So, hopefully more to come!

Another mini mid-year resolution that I’m making right now is to write more blog posts and create more content. I’ve always found small, short tips to be really useful and easy to digest. I want to make time to build more, experiment, and share. While this doesn’t fit into my role as easily as it had in the past few years, before I became a DevRel in my full-time job, I was always building and writing. It’s all about making the time.

📅 Conclusion

That’s all of this special mid-year edition of “Una’s Year in Review.” 2023 is already shaping out to be a pretty incredible one for the books. It was hard to not let bits and thoughts from 2023 infiltrate the 2022 review too much. If you’re interested in following along, you can see find my previous year-end posts here: