2021 in Review

By Page Wood December 31, 2021

This is the third year in a row that I’ve sat down to type a “year in review” blog post on New Years Eve. I’m glad that I’ve settled into this little blogging routine, as it has turned into a fun way to take stock of life’s twists and turns. It’s also now funny to think that 2019 was quite easy to write, and then last year’s post felt like documenting glimmers of fun while the world was on fire. I really had expected 2021 would be a bit more un-eventful than 2020, but that certainly wasn’t the case. I’ll remember 2021 as one of the most eventful and chaotic years ever. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you from any ranting about politics, COVID, or the state of the world; that stuff is too exhausting to talk about after the past two years.

2021 started out for us in Snowshoe, West Virginia, where we were lucky enough to enjoy some much needed vacation time on the slopes. And here I am a year later, writing this blog post from Snowshoe where we have been enjoying some skiing and avoiding yet another massive surge in COVID cases back home. I can’t say we did much else last winter aside from travel up to Snowshoe for much needed changes in scenery and some adrenaline filled skiing. Then towards the middle of winter, life went from quarantine slow to some totally new level of busy.

We started 2021 at Storyware with a stacked project schedule and some new team members. Despite the stacked schedule, we finally reached a huge milestone and released our first SaaS product, LoyalBrew, in March of 2021. LoyalBrew is essentially a new take on loyalty programs that was originally targeted towards “Ale Trails” as a way to replace paper passports. I developed LoyalBrew and designed it on the fly, leveraging the new Laravel Livewire framework for building native-app-esque experiences in the browser. Since the official release, LoyalBew has continued to evolve and we’ve signed some notable customers including the Asheville Ale Trail.

Sometime towards the end of January I received a text from Griffin Harrington, a JMU classmate who I hadn’t spoken with in nearly 10 years. Griffin had a new business idea and needed to chat with someone about the software side of things. Well, in March we co-founded RecRe, an autonomous rental box company offering recreational and lifestyle product rentals in hyper-convenient locations. Our goal with RecRe is to enable people to play more, while owning less. Check out the video below to see how it works:

We first intended to place RecRe boxes in public parks with a rev-share model. We’ve since pivoted towards working with campuses and apartment complexes, but hope to see RecRe boxes play a roll in activating public spaces sometime down the road.

Taking RecRe from an idea to an actual business has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life. Most people who know me are aware that I have a love/hate relationship with technology; technology is great and allows me to live the life I live, but technology has become increasingly terrifying and I’m always yearning to disconnect and enjoy life outside. RecRe is a product that uses technology to enable customers to do just that: to get outside and enjoy life.

Since starting RecRe in March, I can’t say I’ve had much free time during the workweek (or many weekends). My nights and many of my weekends over the summer were spent building the MVP RecRe web app in preparation for our product launch. This web app was a real joy to build since it involved opening and closing a box on demand through an IoT device. The tech stack is a fun one, leveraging Laravel, Laravel Livewire, Particle.io, Redis, Pusher and more. Like LoyalBrew, I developed the app myself and designed it on the fly. I’m pretty damn proud of the RecRe web app.

Seeing the box come together as I poured my skillset into the MVP app was pretty awesome. The launch of our first box in October was a huge sense of accomplishment for everyone involved. Our product has since been well received, the business concept has been proven, we’ve raised some capital from investors, and we’re now preparing for a busy 2022. We have a number of boxes in production overseas and my old colleagues from Indonesia are working with us to turn the MVP app into a full-fledged SaaS platform that will enable our customers to manage their own boxes. Look out: our first RecRe boxes will be arriving on college campuses around the mid-atlantic region quite soon.

So all of the above was mostly about work. What happened outside of work in 2021?

If you read last year’s post then you know we adopted Cocoa, one cool pup, towards the end of 2020. Cocoa and I became best co-working pals this year. He’s a great co-worker who enjoys the occasional game of fetch, eating mulch, and long walks on the beach (or in the mountains). I did my best to keep up my love for landscaping whenever I could get away from the computer when we weren’t traveling. Olivia and I also managed to take a few fun trips this year, most of which included the pup. And since Olivia and I discovered that we absolutely love spending time at Snowshoe, we bought a condo up here over the summer. You can pretty much count on finding us in the mountains for the bulk of the winter months from here on out 🙂

2021 has been a bit tiring, so I’d prefer to go spend time away from the computer instead of continuing to type. I’ll let the many pics below illustrate the fun things that happened in 2021. Thanks for reading and I look forward to chronicling an equally action packed 2022 in 365 days.

Cocoa in January of 2021, settling into his role as my co-developer.


Cocoa’s first snow! He loved it. And still does.


Olivia enjoying the first snowfall at our house in Richmond!
The ice storm in February of 2021 managed to totally kill our fire pit. But we were glad it wasn’t our house that got crushed.


Olivia and I taking a break from the slopes in March.


Olivia skiing Cupp Run for the first time last March.


Cocoa learned to drive in March.


I replaced all of the lattice under our sunporch last winter with some custom made hinged panels. Here’s me finishing up the install. BTW – don’t ever hand paint lattice panels.


Olivia and I at her sister’s backyard wedding in March. I broke out the Nikon and had a blast capturing their day. Congrats Linda and Silas!


Olivia and I got our COVID vaccines as soon as we possibly could. We believe in science and wish to do our part in preventing the spread of this disease. We also believe that vaccines are key to preventing new variants from emerging. If only the rest of the world would act with intelligence and follow suit.


Morty and Mitsy continued their shenanigans in 2021. Here’s Morty accidentally trapping Mitsy in a box. This moment was priceless.


Spring arrived and the tree in our front yard went wild!


Morty enjoying the new flower bed around the patio, as well as the spring time weather.


Mitsy was also very happy to venture out once spring arrived.


Todd Wickersty and I took a Storyware business trip to Asheville and I made a new friend.


We were stoked to hit the river and return to our favorite bridge once warm weather arrived.


In the fall of 2020 I built this patio. In June we upgraded the cozy-level.


It was great to enjoy spending time in public without masks for a little bit. Here we are with my mom and my sister’s kid’s at the Science Museum.


Mom and I at the Science Museum


Some much needed family time! This was Olivia’s birthday in June.


I hadn’t been fishing in at least two years. Here is my childhood best friend Briggs with a monster. He pulled this fish out of the water 5 minutes into our fishing expedition.


When I was working late nights over the summer I could always count on ending the day with some quality Mitsy time.


Cocoa discovered that he loves the beach. And he became a fan of walks, finally!


Cocoa also found that he sure does like boat rides.


Here we are at Danielle and Bernard’s wedding in June. Such a good time.


One of my favorite river photos of the summer. I snapped this on a paddle board outing.


Another fun photo I took on the river over the summer.


My buddy Christian snapped this pic of me when we were on the river one evening.


Here’s me on a zoom call with Nick Snipes, our electrical engineer at RecRe. This is our first test of the web app telling the box to open. Super cool to be in Richmond and see the box opening in Boston.


Here’s Olivia unpacking at the little condo we bought at Snowshoe in July.


Here’s one of our neighbors at Snowshoe. I took this from out back deck. Really, this is a common sight.


Olivia surprised me with some offroading at Snowshoe when I finally took some time off after months of constant work.


Family Starbucks outing at Snowshoe.
Cocoa and my dad became best buds this summer.


We hiked up a black diamond one day. Cocoa wasn’t phased by it, but the humans prefer skiing down these slopes.


Cocoa met deer for the first time over the summer. He wasn’t sure what to think of them.


Cocoa vision on the back deck at Snowshoe. He’s still confused about the deer.


Snapped this on a foggy hike at Snowshoe.


Here’s my co-founder at RecRe, Griffin Harrington, working on some electronics for the box. The team met up in Harrisonburg last August to start putting the final pieces together ahead of our fall launch.


I snagged some fun hurricane surf in early September. Here’s a pic I snapped after a session by the Ocean Isle Beach pier.


My good buddy Ian Millington and I tried downhill mountain biking in the fall. So much fun.


Olivia and I on one last paddle before the water got cold. This is the spot where I proposed to her!


We got a dishwasher over the summer… Huge life improvement. And a huge source of confusion for the cats.


I finally got to put my agronomy education to use this fall. I’ve been doing some serious work on our lawn.


Here’s the first RecRe box on the night of the launch in October!


And a closeup of our first RecRe box. Excuse the angle, it was 1:00 am when we deployed this thing.


Olivia snapped this pic of me when we stopped by the RecRe box on a fall trip.


Olivia enjoying a fall sunset at Snowshoe.


We had an awesome trip to Staunton in October where we sampled some phenomenal food. I had no idea Staunton is such a cool town.


Morty was a spaceman for Halloween.


I didn’t have time to do much cooking over the summer… But I made up for that with the smoker this fall. Sometimes it got a bit absurd, haha.


My first round of golf after two years and a lot of physical therapy… Must love arthritis of the shoulder in the form of a bone spur.


We managed to see some great live music this fall. The Bad Religion show at the National was definitely the highlight.


Finally made it back to JMU for homecoming with my old roommate Gil and the gang!


We went to Florida for Thanksgiving and had an awesome time with Olivia’s Florida fam (and some of my new fam!)


Olivia on the slopes during opening weekend in November. Hard to believe that we were in Florida and then skiing in West Virginia 24 hours later. We were so stoked to hit the snow again.


Spotify showed me that I worked waaaay too much this year.


Olivia and I before her company’s Christmas party. Sure glad they timed that to take place before the arrival of omicron.


The entrance to “Wood Chalet” was covered in snow when we arrived up here before Christmas.


It was great to ski Silver Creek a few days before Christmas.


Cocoa and Olivia on Christmas morning.


Blakely, her kids, Olivia, and I on Christmas morning.


I snapped this pic of Cocoa on Christmas afternoon. I don’t know why but it cracks me up when he’s posted up on the door like that.


We learned how to snowboard on my birthday this year. What a great time. We have officially converted from skiing to snowboarding.


Here’s Cocoa and I today, enjoying some quiet time on New Years Eve.


Well, that’s it. Have a great year and stay tuned for updates. Maybe I’ll actually carve out some time to write or finally rebuild this website in 2022.