My 35 fave + tenderest moments from 2016.

written by Bari Tessler December 22, 2016

Dear Community,

As the year draws to a close, I’m drawing inward. Reflecting. Remembering.

This has been a tough year for so many people. Many parts of the world are divided and in crisis. We’ve lost a number of our cultural icons and heroes. This year has been a bumpy road for so many of us.

But it’s also been a big year, with some truly beautiful moments. For me and for all of you, I’m sure. And today, I’m choosing to be grateful.

You may have already heard me talk about how important gratitude is to me. It’s one of my touchstone spiritual practices. I practice gratitude to soak in the good moments, to stay strong in the tough moments, and to stay truly present, for all of it.

In the spirit of gratitude, celebration, and hope, here’s my list of favorite things, tenderest moments, and biggest real-life experiences for me in 2016.

If it inspires you to write your own gratitude or best-of list, wonderful! Otherwise, thanks for reading … and know that of all the things I’m grateful for, YOU, my dear community, top the list.

My fave + tender + big moments of 2016:


Personal + Self-Care ~

Fave reclaimed movement practice: Afro-Brazilian dance. After a too-long break from it, it felt so good to welcome this back into my heart and body, this year.

Fave album: Lemonade by Beyoncé. I listened to this nonstop for months, sometimes even picking my child up from school with it still playing in the car. One day, I heard Noah singing lyrics from it (totally inappropriate for an 8-year-old!), while laughing hysterically — yeah, I didn’t play it around him, after that!

Fave book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer (novel) and The Light of The World by Elizabeth Alexander (memoir). Both are stunningly beautiful. Also, reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to my dear son, Noah, at bedtime.

Fave TV shows: Orphan Black. The Affair. Transparent. Orange is the New Black.

Fave beauty product splurge: The same as every year: Helena Meyer’s organic, local facial lotions (made right here in Boulder).

Fave local healers: Elena Giulini (acupuncture) and Liraz Bergman-Turner (massage)

Fave spot for money dates with my dear hubby: Blackbelly restaurant in Boulder. We get practical and romantic on these … and their passionfruit parfait is the best non-chocolate dessert I’ve had in my life.

Fave almost-daily self-care practice: I’ve hiked the same trail, almost daily, for almost 23 years! Even when I moved to California for a time, I still hiked this trail in my mind. My daily hike is how I reconnect with my body, my creativity, and something greater than myself. I post my daily hikes on Instagram.


Fave dream-come-true achievement: My first book was published, this year! I’ve dreamed of this for years, and it’s finally come true. It’s been a ton of work, but so worth it. This year, I got to hold my book-baby in my hands, go on a book tour, and now, see the world welcome and celebrate my book. I’m so grateful!


Fave podcast: This is a tie between Michael Margolis (on storytelling) and Tara Gentile (on business, creativity, and profit).

Fave daily chocolate: Alter Eco 85% dark.

Fave splurge-y chocolate: Vosges dark chocolate truffles.

Fave on-the-road tip: Jogging on a treadmill in the hotel gym. (I go bonkers without movement!)

Fave flying tip: I exclusively fly Xanax Airways. With chocolate. And a minimum of 2 new books.

Fave book tour moments: The live book readings! The live hugs. Breaking bread with this dear community all over the U.S. and Canada! {See my travelogue for photos and stories.)

Travelogue Collage 3

Money ~

Fave “money leak” I plugged: I returned clothes I’d bought for myself or Noah (both locally and online) that we weren’t using. This feels so good.

Fave big splurge: I usually had modest accommodations on my book tour, but in Boston I treated myself to a fancy hotel room with a huge suite, a Japanese restaurant downstairs, and walking distance from everything. Oh, it was worth it.


Fave screamin’ deal of a purchase: I happened into a consignment store (while strolling through Boulder on a rare day of playing hooky from work) and saw a beautiful, used Pottery Barn couch! It was perfect for my husband’s home office.

Fave purchase that’s saving us money: An espresso machine!! We put this off for a long time, because they’re so pricey. For awhile, my husband and I were buying mochas from our favorite local cafe almost daily. We treated this as a business expense, and it made sense at the time: as a dual-entrepreneur household, we loved getting out of the house, having some social interaction, and getting work done. But my husband made a good case for how much money we would save if we invested in a home espresso machine, and he’s been so right! Plus, I’m finally learning how to make mochas on my own, which is such fun.

Family ~

Most tender moment of the year: My father passed away this year, at the age of 72. Thankfully, my family had 2.5 years after his stroke to be with him, forgive him, honor him, love him, be loved by him, and let him go. As timing would have it, my father was cremated on June 14th, 2016: the same day my book was published. So much of him lives on in me, in my book, in my work, and in our whole family. I will carry on our family legacy as best as I can … and I know he is now resting in peace and will never be forgotten.


Most touching parenting moment: After being away from my family for a full week, the first leg of my book tour, my husband and son met up with me in Seattle. Noah said to me, “Mama, 7 days is too long to be away from you. You give me energy, you give me love, you give me help and you give me courage. 4 days is OK for you to be away, but not 7.”


Fave family moment: We went to Jamaica this year! We hadn’t traveled outside of the US and Canada since our son was 18 months old and I carried him around on my back, through Guatemala. It’s so important for our little family to travel the world and expose our son to parts that aren’t as financially wealthy. There was so much to learn in Jamaica. And we’ll never forget snorkeling together, being under the magical ocean as a family. I burst into a laughing attack from the sheer joy of it, and my whole family joined in with me.


Fave proud mama moment: Noah tried out for a traveling soccer team and made the cut! He had a wonderful first team experience, surrounded by talented, supportive boys who became dear buddies. For my social, extrovert boy-child, this is so good.

Fave new furry family members: Last year, we lost our 12-year-old boy kitty, Finn. We’d raised him from a kitten, so this was utterly heartbreaking. We took a long time to grieve him, and still miss him. But this fall, we finally felt ready to welcome a new feline friend into our lives. One day in October, I looked on the Humane Society website and saw a couple of orange boy kitties that reminded me of a young Finn. I went in intending to pick up one — but came home with both! We now have two orange brothers, who have been a huge blessing for our family.


Fave husband-wife / biz partner moment: Receiving the gorgeous website that Forest built for me as his parting business gift. After 2.5 years of being COO for The Art of Money, Forest is off to play in his own sandbox again, growing his business, Clarity Lab. I thought it would be sad to see him leave my business, but we have an incredible team to replace him, and I’m so happy to see him happy. It’s been a good move for our businesses and our marriage. And I thank him every day for my beautiful online home.

Business + Entrepreneurship ~

Biggest business gratitude: My amazing team. I can’t do business or life without them. Angela Raines has been my copywriter and co-writer for 5.5 years. And this year, we welcomed Amber Kinney as my online biz manager and Ali Willoughby as my virtual assistant. Plus, my husband is still on-call for big visioning and marketing support. We’re going strong, and I’m so grateful!

Fave non-conventional life-and-biz support: My dear Tarot reader, Theresa Reed. I’ve consulted her about most big business projects (including timing and obstacles to watch for) for years, now. She’s no-nonsense and wonderful.

Fave podcast interview: I was in rare form and got incredibly candid with Emily Ann Peterson of Bare Naked Bravery. She pushed me to go beyond my Art of Money methodology and talk about BRAVERY: the moments in my life where I’ve had to dig deep, get courageous, and show up. (Heads up: there’s a little swearing in this one!)

Fave guest post: I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I was a kid. (The bookmobile was far more exciting to me than the ice cream truck!) So I had a blast guest posting on The Reading Lists, sharing my favorite books, from money to memoir and way, way beyond.

YUGE flattering surprise: So there I am, waiting in the checkout line at Whole Foods, and I pull out my phone only to see: my friend and colleague, Christopher Peck, posted on Facebook that The Art of Money (MY book!) made the top 7 personal finance book list for Inc. Magazine. This utterly blew me away. I’m so honored and grateful!

Fave community participation: I adored seeing community members from across the globe send in “book selfies” of them holding my new book. With couples and puppies and babies and white sand beaches … these are just a few handfuls of the book selfies that folks sent in…


Toughest biz boundary: During the book tour, the sheer volume of requests, love notes, questions, and messages I received through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and email simply got overwhelming. It was all so lovely and welcome and beautiful! But it reached a point where I had to admit: I couldn’t answer every message, any longer and have time for my work and family. So my team jumped in to respond to these messages and redirected folks to my website. I still read almost everything that comes in (and add my own thoughts, suggestions, and resources), but my team has jumped in to respond to everyone, now. This was a hard but essential boundary, for me.

Biggest business goal for 2017: I want to grow my year-long Art of Money 2017 program to welcome 500 students this year. I have 5 wonderful TA’s (Transformation Assistants!) by my side, and the program is stronger than ever. We will open registration for this year’s program on January 17th with a series of brand-new, intimate interviews: Money Memoirs, which I can’t wait to share with you.

Biggest biz craving: I spent 2015 in book creation-mode. I spent 2016 in book publishing + tour mode, along with running my year-long program and having a full house of private Financial Therapy clients. Now, I’m feeling called into something new. I can’t quite hear what it is, yet. But once we kick off The Art of Money 2017 and the community has been welcomed, I want to leave some open space and time to feel into my next big creative project … I can’t wait.

Biggest, biggest, biggest gratitude: To YOU, my dear community! I’m so beyond-grateful that you’re here. I couldn’t do anything I do, without you. And I truly do it all for you. Thank you for being here with me, this year, as I launched my first book into the world, as I met challenges and triumphs, head-on.

I’m so excited to continue to create beautiful content for you in 2017. To keep helping you un-shame around money. To grow and deepen and open. To have new, honest and intimate money conversations. To broaden your financial education, to deepen your financial peace of mind, to stretch your confidence, and to do it all with heart.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this best-of 2016 list! I know it was delightful and meaningful for me, to look back and reflect. I hope this inspires you to write your own version, as a way to honor all that you’ve lived through, in 2016.

I’m sending you my love, my dearest wishes, and gratitude. I feel so blessed to have you in my community.

With my dearest wishes,

P.S. Want to work together in 2017? Here’s the best way …

Since folks keep asking about this, I thought I would clarify it here. I most likely won’t offer my 6-month Private Financial Therapy journeys in the New Year. I want to focus fully on my Art of Money 2017 community (opening very soon for registration), as well as leaving space for the next, big creative project to come through.

If you’d like to know more about how to work with me in 2017 (including my current thoughts on mentorship for financial professionals and therapists), I’ve laid it all out right here.

The gist? The very best way to work with me in 2017 is in my year-long program, The Art of Money 2017. (Opening soon, so stay tuned … )

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