inspiration

2016 Favorites

This is one of my favorite posts of the entire year to write. I start to look forward to it come December… especially this year. It’s been a challenging year. I’ve tried to stay as upbeat and optimistic as possible, but I’d be lying if I said this year didn’t give me a run for my money. I started off January feeling stressed, cruised through the middle months feeling overwhelmed, and ended with a broken heart. That said, I’m trying to focus on the positives. It’s too easy to let everything that’s negative creep in and take whatever remaining energy I have left. I’m trying to start off this new year with good, positive vibes.

So my favorites for this year?

hamilton-and-teddy

ONE // Hamilton

While I also saw the play this year (and loved it, duh), this Hamilton is about the little puppy who stole my heart. I was very much on the fence about getting a second dog. I loved Teddy and would be perfectly happy with one dog… but he would get so lonely when left alone in the apartment. I agreed to a second dog and the first few months were trying (oh so trying). I honestly regretted getting him. At one point I was irritated because he had made my life so much harder. (I feel guilty for even typing that out, but it’s the truth.) I wanted to rewind the clock and say NO instead. But I trudged on. I cleaned up the pee and the poop, dropped him off for vet appointments and slowly but surely that dog nestled right into the softest corner of my heart. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but he really did fill a hole I didn’t even know was there.

He’s a handful and has a devilish streak that is as entertaining as it is frustrating. Where Teddy likes to know you’re nearby, Hamilton wants to be as close as possible even if that means he’s completely on top of you. Where Teddy likes to play frisbee and fetch, Hamilton prefers to be carried through the dog park or randomly chase his brother (with zero interest in the actual ball). Where Teddy runs away from the bathtub, Ham literally jumps into it with or without the water. Man, I love those dogs. In some ways, I actually can’t believe I didn’t have him before this year.

TWO // Working Out

I’m putting this on the list even though it’s a hot/cold thing for me. I did some working out the first half of the year but struggled to get into a good rhythm. I know it sounds like an excuse, but when Ham came into the picture, it was really hard for me to add anything else into my life, even if it was an hour long yoga class. At the end of the summer, I finally recommitted to yoga and quickly remembered why I loved it so much. I was going three or four times a week and enjoyed the moderate sweat, the stretches, and even the day-after soreness. I eventually moved to a new gym for more convenient yoga class times. In addition to yoga, I was also trying out different group workout groups and found a great one: an intro to weightlifting class. It’s an hour long and, while the workouts are intense, it flies by because everyone in the group is great. We chat and laugh and push each other. I’m obsessed. Can’t wait to get even stronger next year.

THREE //  The Website Design!

GUYS! I finally joined this decade and relaunched my website. It was getting embarrassing. I had tried twice before to switch to WordPress and to launch a completely rebranded look but kept backing out because things just didn’t align. I did it this year though and couldn’t be happier. I did cry the morning it was going live with a twinge of sadness letting go of the old look… and then I never looked back!!!

Everything runs so much smoother on my end, and hopefully you find it better to navigate (and just to plain ole look at!). A huge thank you to Rowan Made and ChloeDigital for making the magic happen. I hate asking for help, and I hate not being able to do things myself, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to turn to.

(In case you’re interested in starting a blog, here are my updated blogging tips post which was one of my most-viewed of the year.)

ireland

FOUR // Travel

Traveling has been on my list for a couple of years now, and it remains one of my favorite things for 2016. I did scale back a little bit because I got a little burned out, though. It makes the travel that I did do that much more meaningful!

January: Mont Tremblant for a ski trip, Cape Cod for a surprise visit, Vermont for a ski trip

March: Park City for a ski trip, Rhode Island for a quick trip, Tampa for a family reunion

April: Family trip to Boca Grande

May: Solo trip to Chicago

June: Ireland trip of a lifetime, the Hamptons

July: A bunch of Nantucket visits (see below!)

August: Indiana for a wedding, more Nantucket

September: Even more Nantucket

October: New Orleans for fun, Boston for the Head of the Charles

November: DC for a Meet and Greet, Tampa for Thanksgiving

December: Tampa for Christmas

off-the-shoulder-striped-tie

FIVE // Lipstick

This is a little silly, but lipstick has been a fun change this year for me! I started wearing it more regularly and loved the way it looked. So I kept it up. I’ve been trying to wear some kind of color on my lips every day, even if it’s just a tinted balm. In case you’re wondering what some of my favorites are: Neutrogena Sunny Berry Tinted Balm, Bobbi Brown Rose Brown art stick, and Lancome Oui Monsieur.

SIX // Youtube

Not only did I become hooked on watching Youtube, but I also started to love creating video content on my channel. I had to take a break from videos for the month of December for personal reasons, but I am going to be getting back into it in 2017. Still trying to figure out what that looks like though (if you have video requests, let me know!). What I do know is that filming and editing videos filled a creative void I didn’t know I needed to fill. It’s a good kind of challenge for me, and I can’t wait to see that element of my online repertoire continue to grow.

My most viewed videos of the year in case you missed them: Meeting Casey Neistat, Apartment Tour, Organizing a Small Closet, Nantucket House Tour, and Gal Meets Glam Takes Over.

nantucket-boston-pops

SEVEN // Nantucket

Speaking of Nantucket… it was absolutely one of my favorite things this year. I’ve been before, but this is the year where I seriously fell in love with the little island. I constantly think about my next trip when I’m not there, and I am completely and utterly relaxed while I’m there. It’s such a fun place to visit with friends, and I hope I have plenty more trips in my future. (I already booked a cottage for a week in July when we got our first snow earlier this month haha!)

There’s something special about Nantucket and everyone I know who has visited agrees. Even with seasickness (ugh), I feel like a kid at Christmas on the ferry ride over. When I think about my favorite memories of the year, almost all of them are on Nantucket. We miraculously did a day trip with our family friends (all eight of us!), watched my friends get engaged, and (my very favorite) listened to the Boston Pops play from a boat with one of my best friends and her family.

Julia Gal Meets Glam

EIGHT // Friends

Okay, this is another one that makes it onto the list every year and 2016 is no exception. I feel SO incredibly lucky for the friends I have. I’m not kidding; I feel like I hit the lottery in the friend department. It’s not something I will ever take for granted. Between friends from school over the years and friends from blogging, I just love the amazing girls I have in my life. Because this was such a hard year, I had to lean on them a little bit more than usual, and I’m just so grateful for each of them.

NINE // Health

I’m always thankful for my health, but after a major health scare earlier this year I am even more thankful. It’s a super long story, but I ended up in the emergency room one night after having a seizure. It was the most terrified I think I have ever felt. (And it didn’t help that we were hit by a drunk driver on the way to the hospital!) I woke up in the hospital with a handful of nurses staring at me as they got ready to do CPR. I went through all the testing, and everything came back completely normal, thank goodness. It turned out to just be a combination of things: not sleeping enough, not eating on a regular schedule, not drinking enough water that week, being ridiculously stressed out (which was probably the root of why I wasn’t sleeping/eating/drinking normally), etc. It was a perfect storm that could have been much much much worst.

Obviously, the seizure part was not a highlight of my year, but the positive (good vibes people, good vibes!) of the situation was that it made me take a huge step back and reevaluate how I was treating my body. My health is too important to let things slide. I learned the hard way that my body does have a limit, and I have to treat it well.

family

TEN // Family

Even though I don’t live close to my family, I managed to spend quite a bit of time with them. My family visited me, and I visited them, and we traveled together too. Just as I’m grateful and thankful for my friends, I feel beyond fortunate to have the family that I have. I think not living nearby makes me value and appreciate the time I do have so much more. I don’t take one minute for granted. Every moment is cherished, whether we’re sitting around the table talking, poking fun at someone, or curled up on the couch watching a movie. While it was a tough year, I know that my family is completely healthy and happy and that means more to me than anything else could right now.

PS Here are my PS Here are my favorites from 200920102011201220132014, and 2015.

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67 Comments

SofdeLyon

This post is so sincere and mature ! Have a wonderful 2017, you have all the keys for happiness. Xoxo

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Elle

What a great post Carly. Seems like you had a great year even with the setbacks. What I always do is reflect mostly on the positives and look at the negatives only to see how they shaped me into a better and stronger person. 2017 is going to be a great year for you! Thanks for being so personal with us.
xo elle // https://splashofpreppy.com

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Sarah Gouin

Love the last photo of you with your sister and mother! Your blog is one of my very favourites. I hope 2017 is a better year for you – I wish you good health and happiness.

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Kayla

I’m so sorry it’s been so tough, I’m praying for any unease to be swift for you and all the blessings life can offer for 2017!!! You are such a wonderful role model and your work is doing great things for people, you deserve all the happiness in the world Carly!! 🙂

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Jordyn

I’m sorry to hear the year has been tough! You are resilient and strong, you’ll make it through the set backs with your positivity! Sending lots of love to your corner of the internet!

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Ginny

My heart is so sad for you because loss is very hard and needs to be grieved. And yet, just from a few things I observed in a couple of your posts and videos, I felt there were a few red flags in the way you were treated. You deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and love.

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Katie

Sending you lots of good vibes! We’ve never met, but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and you seem like such a kind, caring person. You deserve nothing but happiness. Big hugs.

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Brenna

Hi Carly,
Just wanted to send some good vibes your way for 2017. Been reading your blog for some time and truly enjoy every single post and vlogs as well. Happy New Year!
Xx
Brenna

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LG

Hands down my one of my three favorite blogs! And you have the Nantucket obsession too! (love that little damn island) Look forward to reading your posts in 2017 and beyond!

Best,
– Longtime reader/follower on all social platforms (:

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Kristen

I hope your 2017 is amazing! For some reason 2016 seemed like a tough year for many people. I know I feel ready for a new start! I also think it’s really cool that you get to look back on your old blog posts for the past several years! What a cool time capsule.

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Christina

I am SOOOO happy to have met you in Georgetown this fall with Sarah at the Tuckernuck meetup! You have a bright future ahead of you. Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us. Sending light and love your way <3 <3 <3

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Elizabeth

So sorry to hear you had a tough year, Carly, but I love your positive spin on the situation. I’ve been reading your blog since I started college in 2010, and you’ve always been such a great role model and older sister type of figure. Thank you for always being such a consistent, inspiring blogger!

Sending all the positive vibes your way for 2017! You deserve all the best 🙂

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Christine

Carly, As a GU grad from long ago and a parent of a child in college (and 2 others), I just wanted to praise you for being a great model of resilience, intelligence, courage and positivity. And for being an empowered young female business owner. This exercise of honoring the “best of 2016” I know will inspire others who may not have had the best year, but who will feel elevated and hopeful connecting to “what went right.” Thank you for showing how to handle difficult situations with grace!

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Anna

Been a favorite blog of me and my best friend since middle school and now we are both sophomores in college! Positive vibes your way! Love this post!

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Amy

Carly, your honesty and strength of self always inspires me when reading your blog. I am sorry to hear about you and Garrett, but speaking from my own heartache experiences, you will be all the stronger and wiser for going through it. Take time for yourself and read a lot – sleep and a good book cure all. Thank you for sharing – here’s to a brighter 2017!

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Amy

Ironically, I was broken up with yesterday very unexpectedly, so take comfort that others are going through what you are as well. Taking a dose of my own advice, along with your optimism!

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Sophie

Carly, I’m so sorry to hear you had such a challenging year. I’ve been a long time reader of yours and your vlogs and posts have always inspired me- be it your work ethic, clever time management/study tips, and of course your impeccable fashion taste. I discovered your blog when I was in high school (I’m now a junior in college) and I really identified with you. I have struggled with general anxiety for most of my life and it’s always been incredibly comforting to hear your narrative and how you persevere and thrive in life. Even though I don’t know you, I feel like you’re a big sister figure in a way. I know the future has good things in store for you, no matter how low you may feel now. Take time for yourself, for your health, and never forget the positive impact you have on so many followers.

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Dee

Sending you vibes for a brilliant new year! Break-ups are the worst at the time but are usually for the best. I think really great things are on the horizon for you!

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Ashley

Carly,
I’ve been reading your blog ever since college (circa 2010) and it’s one of my highlights of the day. You are real, determined, positive and always look at the bright side of things. Keep focusing on what makes you happy and know that 2017 will be YOUR YEAR!

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Christina

Carly, you inspire me as a blogger, scholar, and a woman. I loved this wrap up so much. You are being so raw in these posts recently and I admire it immensely. Let yourself heal, sending you extra love and light! Hang in there!

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Rosie

Thank you SO MUCH for your 2016 content. It was great watching the v-logs and reading the new and updated blog. There is truly nothing worse than heartbreak. I am so sorry. I can’t wait to read your blog and watch your vlogs in 2017- they really are a total highlight for me! Cheers to you and 2017 being your best year yet.

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Everly Wren

Dear Carly, I have been reading your blog for just over a year and although I have never left a comment, I tremendously enjoyed every post. I really feel for you for the year ending in heartbreak, but I always thought you were way too good for him! You deserve someone who treats you so much better. I hope you have a great 2017! Xoxo.

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Emma

Your blog is a highlight of my year, every year. Thank you Carly for your amazing content and honesty. Your vlogs were also a really fun addition that I always look forward to. Best wishes for an amazing year to come!! XO

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Kelly Lucy

Carly,
Reading your blog EVERY. DAY. without fail has always been one of the best parts of my day! It is so oddly reassuring to hear that there are other girls my age going through the same learning experiences, trials, great moments, and everything in between. I have never met you, but I am always so grateful to have a role model like you! Thank you for your constant authenticity.

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Kay

So sorry to hear of the difficult time you have been having. I hope when you feel up to it, you will be able to give a brief update on what happened with Garret. He has been such a big part of your blog and you move and your life – even in your recent Christmas card … perhaps just closing the page and letting us know if you will be keeping your (beautiful!) apartment in CT, or who is keeping the dogs will close the chapter for your loyal followers. Best of all blessings to you in 2017. Cheers! KC

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hello 2017 - The College Prepster

[…] the whole “resolutions” bit) and maybe one or two things I want to focus on this year. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, things were a little rocky in 2016. As we enter the new year, I’m feeling disoriented. I do […]

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Jenn

Wanted to add to all these lovely comments. I can’t remember how I found your blog but am glad I did! I am not your target market – 40 years old, wife, & mom of a 10 month old. But your blog is one of my favorites. I think because you are so genuine & kind. My baby is a boy, but if we ever have a girl, I hope we have a relationship like you and your mom.
I’ve also had my heartbroken (a few times) and just know that you will eventually feel better! We are a resilient bunch 🙂
Happy new year.

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Valencia

Sorry to hear what a tough year it has been for you. Take care of yourself and talk to Mama often. Always helps! I’ll lift you up in prayers. Peace.

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Meg

Hi Carly! Happy New Year!
I’m so sorry to hear about you and Garrett. I went through a breakup with a long term boyfriend (we lived together) at the end of November. It’s been incredibly hard, but I know it was the right thing. Sending love and light your way! It gets a little bit easier every day!

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Jane

As a mom of a HS girl, I have followed your blog as a bit of a bridge for both of us. As much as I want you to keep doing cute clothes and interesting buys, you might find a new and unfortunately growing area of interest…teen stress. See, for example ActiveMinds. You talk of your own battle with stress and anxiety. Perhaps becoming involved on a deeper level to help the next generation. Not on this blog but maybe as a side interest. You would be a great voice.
Sorry for your breakup. As a former NYC girl, move back, keep your dogs, enjoy your career and live your life. Love will find you again but, in the meantime, dogs are great! When you are 50+ you realize what a wonderful age you are at and you need to be out there living it. All the best in 2017!

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Mika

What a beautiful, inspiring post, Carly! I absolutely love reading your blog. I hope you have an AMAZING new year 🙂 Please take care!

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Dani

This is small detail that I love about your blog, but when I click on a link to another blog post of yours, it always opens in a new tab. It is just nice to have it do that so you can save it to read later, after you finish what you are currently reading.

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Bridget Sciscento

Hi Carly,

I have been reading your blog since my freshman year of high school (2010), but, somehow, I think this is the first time I’ve commented. This is one of the most genuine posts you have ever written. I wish you all possible happiness in the New Year with Teddy, Hamilton, and your family.

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Sp

Im sorry you’ve had a rough year but just know you have so many readers rooting for you and sending positive energy your way! Hope 2017 is amazing.

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Sofia

Omigosh, what a year!! On the dog part, I’m totally with you. A couple years ago, Josh got our dog Kodah. She was a 7-week old bulldog puppy. I had already had my rescue dog for about a year and a half. Kodah was such a nightmare puppy! She even wracked in a HUGE vet bill the night of Thanksgiving! I still struggle with her a bit because now she’s a 100-lb. bulldog and just as energetic as a puppy, which can definitely make things interesting. But she also cozied up into a special corner of my heart and now I can’t imagine life without her! The struggle was real in the beginning though.
I hope your 2017 is amazing!

xo, Sofia
http://www.thecozie.co

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Janine

Sorry to hear that 2016 has been such a rough year for you. I love your positive outlook for the new year, however, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for you. As difficult as break ups can be, sometimes they are truly for the best.

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Gaby

Sending positive energy your way & we readers are all here for you!! Happy New Year!!

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Lauren

Love how honest you always are with your blog posts! Beautiful written. Hope 2017 is a much better year for you 🙂

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Lucia

Hi Carly! My heart is very heavy with you in this hard time but it is time to leave it in the past and make this year the best yet. You are beautiful, smart, and you deserve a life of happiness! Hope you have an amazing 2017! xoxo

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Kathleen

Carly, so so sorry about the rough ending to your year and hope 2017 brings you better things. xoxo

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Hayley Shields

Take some time to heal that heart of yours and then go out and make 2017 one of your best years yet! Thank you for always being such a big inspiration <3

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Allison

Hi Carly

It feels so weird for me to be commenting because I feel like I’ve been following along with your life and never said anything in return! 2016 was difficult for me but the year had some great moments as well. Sometimes a new year and some new changes can make all the difference in terms of getting over grief or heartbreak. It’s not linear so please feel alright with the rolllercoaster of emotions you will have. And know you have many people supporting you… albeit many from a distance. Thanks for what you do for so many of us.

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Claire Eckert

I was expecting this to be about products you loved or things along that line but ended up reading a super sentimental post. Loved it!

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Samantha

So sorry to hear 2016 was a rough one. I can definitely empathize with you on that, though. I just wanted to tell you that you are such an inspiration and one of the reasons that I got into blogging 🙂 Keep on keeping on, Carly. I have no doubt in my mind 2017 will be a great year for you!

xoxo,
Samantha

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Erin

Sorry to read about the heartbreak, it is never easy. But you are beautiful, smart, strong and creative young woman . I wish you all the best in 2017.

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Angela

Just wanted to say that I’ve been reading your blog for years & I’m so sorry to hear about your break-up with Garrett. My long-term boyfriend broke up with me a few weeks ago, so I understand how hard it is! It was comforting to read this post because I’ve been searching for positivity in this situation, and this post is honestly one of the few things that’s made me feel better. Thank you for your honesty 🙂

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Anna

Carly,
A few years ago I wrote to you about having gone through a few tough break ups and wondering why it never seemed to work out for me. Your advice was if there is a single “but” then it’s not right, and it won’t be right until it is. I have thought about your words many times since and you were and are so right. Here’s to no buts. Wishing you nothing but the best.

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Chloe Logan

Carly, you’ve always been such an inspiration to me, and I’ll always remember when you sent me uplifting words when I emailed about advice when I was down. Thank you for your honesty, and you’re seriously #girlboss dreams–you kill it, even if you have moments where you don’t think you are. <3 Happy New Year!

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Katherine

Hi Carly!

Sending love and good energy for 2017! Thank you for opening up your life to the world. I know myself and many others feel very connected and grateful for your stories. Be well!
Xo

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Sophia

Carly,
Just wanted to add to the well wishes! New fan of yours but have loved reading and watching you in 2016! I’m sorry about that life is challenging for you at the moment. Take your time. The best is yet to come xx

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Chrystina

Ooooh. I love this version of a breakdown of the year. It gives you a chance to really focus on the good that happened during the year – and some of the big themes as well. Also, props to you for so much travel. Glad I’m not the only one 🙂

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Alissa

Carly, you have always been like an older sister to me! Seriously thank you thank you thank you for all of the advice you have posted on this blog.
xoxo Alissa

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