It’s as cliche as it comes, but I’m just shocked it’s the end of the year. I feel like I was just writing last year’s recap… and here we are again. This has been a big year for a lot of reasons. I feel like I experienced some of the best of the best, mixed with some serious self-doubt and worry. I tried to keep most of the negative off my blog because it’s really hard to vocalize and express how I’m feeling when I’m in the thick of it. If I’m being totally honest with myself, I’m probably still in that mix. My close friends have heard some of it and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone… but, to sum it up, 29 is such a strange age. I feel SO MUCH MORE confident about myself and my decisions compared to back when I was 23 (which I think is the worst year of my twenties for sure). However, it’s still such a “transitional” period as decisions feel bigger and affect your life course so much more. It can be confusing when you’re trying to listen to your head, gut, and heart and then mix in the pressure of living a semi-public life plus the regular pressures of society in general. Phew, it’s a lot… and that’s as much as I can even really articulate at this time.
BUT WITH THAT SAID, it’s been such an incredible year overall. Here are my favorites from 2018:
ONE // Travel
I’ve been including travel in many of my year-end favorite posts. I’ve never considered myself to be the best traveler of all time, and I still don’t. This was the first year though when I felt the most confident traveling. My last big trip of the year, to Paris, made me realize what people feel when they say they love traveling. I “got it.” I was able to drop (some of, lol) my fears and just go with the flow and embrace the idea of traveling. Things don’t have to go perfectly to have a perfect trip.
Stowe, VT for a ski trip | The Bahamas for an unforgettable trip with my friends | Boston to surprise my friend after her engagement | A solo trip to The Ocean House | A sister trip to Gasparilla Inn | Nantucket for a work trip | Charleston to visit Julia | Fourth of July at the lake | Nantucket with my sister and friends | Back to the lake | A trip to Tampa for my 10 Year High School Reunion | Various Rhode Island wedding weekends + weekends down the shore | DC for a Meet & Greet | Tampa for a work trip | Charleston for a work trip | The Catskills with Meghan | A sort of spontaneous trip to Paris | Tampa for Thanksgiving
TWO // Hair part
This is the dumbest thing on the list, but I HAD to include it. I changed my hair part earlier this year and… I freaking love it. I’ve always been super self-conscious of my forehead size. I have a horrible hairline and it looks more like one of a man in his 40s as it starts to recede. Over the years, it’s been a constant source of embarrassment for me and people, meaning well or otherwise, have a thousand suggestions… starting with bangs. But I can’t do bangs because my hair is curly and frizzy. One morning, I flipped my part and BAM, I looked like I had a different face. It took a little bit of “training” to get my hair to stay, but now I don’t even like looking at pictures where the part was different. Whyyyyyy did it take me 28 years to figure that out?!?!
Again, it’s such a dumb thing, but I used to have a “good” side for photos and would try my best to avoid showing that one side of my head where my hairline was deeper than the other. Unless I was wearing a hat that hid it, ha. Now I don’t care and just feel so much better about it.
THREE // Celebrating Friends’ Success
I couldn’t do a review of the year without bragging on my friends a little more. This was a year where I saw my friends just living their best lives and accomplishing HUGE things. Sometimes it made me feel like a complete loser, but I’m really just so unbelievably proud of them that I can’t help but want to scream it from the rooftops.
I even got to play tiny roles, which made me feel so, so, so honored. Julia launched her clothing line and named a dress after me. I even helped model the dresses for the November and December collections. And Maxie’s book was published!!!! I’m featured in a couple of pages and I was even able to moderate the NYC portion of her book tour.
My best friend got engaged, another friend announced her second pregnancy, and I also watched a friend go through an unbelievably difficult health struggle and come out the other side stronger than before.
I truly believe that friends are family you choose and I consider myself the luckiest person that I get to call these amazing people my friends.
FOUR // TEN YEARS
Next week marks the tenth anniversary of my blog. It’s a HUGE accomplishment for me and I’ll be doing a more in-depth post about that next week. But it’s crazy because 2008 was a massive year for me and starting my blog the very, very end of it. So not only is this the tenth anniversary of my blog… it’s the tenth anniversary of a lot of things.
I graduated high school ten years ago. I also moved away from home and never truly moved back beside summer breaks. I started college which was the hardest transition I’ve ever gone through. During that transition, I really sunk to the lowest of lows. (Which I’m thankful none of which was documented on social media back then.) So 10 years is truly a momentous mark of time of celebrating how far I’ve come. Now that some significant time has passed (a full decade 😱), I’m starting to consider sharing more about that period of time but I’m working through on how I want to handle it.
In so many ways, I’m not the same person I was ten years ago and not just in the typical “I’m 10 years older” kind of way. I’m grateful for that.
FIVE // New York City
In March, I moved from Connecticut to Hoboken, NJ! It’s been no secret that I’m not totally in love with Hoboken (90% of it is the apartment which is kind of a nightmare). BUT, one amazing thing to come out of the move is that I’m spending so much more time in the city. When I moved out of NYC for Connecticut, I was so burned out of city living. It had tainted my whole view of the city and I’m glad that this year I’ve been able to spend so much time there again.
Because it’s only a 20-minute door-to-door journey, I pop into the city nearly every day. It’s been nice to meet face to face with brands again and I’ve been able to see WAY more of my city friends (most of whom moved to Brooklyn so we “meet in the middle”).
I’m definitely falling in love with it again and wouldn’t write off moving back in some sort of capacity. (It’s really nice to be older and more financially stable so my budget goes a lot further nowadays than when I was 22 and apartment hunting!)
SIX // Prioritizing Sleep
I feel like I’m at my peak health right now. I’m working out regularly, I meditate every day, and I finally got my salt intake sorted out. And the missing piece? SLEEP. I was horrible once I hit high school. I was overextended between crew and AP classes, then took on way too much stuff in college, and then worked a full-time job and nearly full-time hours of my blog when I came home. At my worst, I would get three hours of sleep a night four times a week and then “catch up” on the weekends as best I could. I used to be a night owl and an early bird, working all hours of the day.
Then, I had a seizure and it was a giant wake up call, no pun intended. It forced me to put everything into perspective and to put my health at the top of my priorities. I slept a lot more than I had and felt better. But this year, I challenged myself to go to bed even earlier to squeeze in a few more hours of sleep and I have never felt better. I feel so much sharper throughout the day and I wake up feeling good, not groggy. I can feel a significant difference in my mood, my body, and my energy when I do six or fewer hours a night now.
If you had told me two years ago that I would be going to bed at 9 pm every night I would have thought you were crazy. Looking back though, I have no idea how I worked so much at 11 pm or even midnight. Sleep is so, so, so important and I feel like it’s “cool” to skimp on it nowadays out of busyness. I haven’t been sick once (not a cold, not a sore throat, nothing) since I started sleeping more (and meditating) and I know it’s because I’m giving my body the rest it needs to recover.
SEVEN // AirPods
I love my AirPods. Like, LOVE them. I thought they were totally douche-y (😂)…. but, ugh, I fully converted. The little guys are so worth the money. It’s so freeing to pop them in and not have to worry about wires. Especially now that I do a ton of walking with coats on, I never have to worry about cords getting tangled or falling out.
I thought it’d be hard to keep track of them because it’s such a small case (like a pack of dental floss), but because I use them so much, it’s actually never been an issue. They hold a surprisingly long charge. And even if you have to charge them, they use the same cord as an iPhone, which is super convenient. (I usually charge mine with a Mophie in my handbag actually!)
EIGHT // Flats
My poor feet have been through the wringer this year. I had been having intense pain for a while and finally got to the bottom of it. At one point, a doctor thought my foot was broken, but after an MRI, it turns out that I just have a ton of swelling around a bone that’s in two pieces… but I was born that way.
There’s not a lot I can do besides avoid uncomfortable shoes and take ibuprofen and pray it goes away. So… goodbye heels, hello flats! I used to feel like I was too casual in flats and I’d opt for heels and wedges almost always. But I’ve been loving the flat look and feel so much better because of it!
(I also splurged on a pair of Chanel flats while in Paris. Not totally relevant, but felt like sharing anyway! I love them!!!)
NINE // Video Memories
One of my resolutions for the year was to take more videos. I wanted to do more Youtube (but frankly I’m (still) having such bad comment anxiety that I pulled back completely), but more personal videos is still a win!
I downloaded the app 1 Second Every Day and I’ve actually been doing it! I thought I might fall off the wagon, but now I seriously look forward to capturing a clip of the day. Some days I wake up knowing exactly what I’m going to shoot (like if I have something fun planned with a friend) and other days I just play it by ear. I’ve only watched it completely a couple of times and I can’t WAIT to download the full year!!!
It’s such an easy and fun way to document memories, even if you never share it publicly. I’m debating whether or not I’ll share mine. (If I do, I’m going to have to go through and blur some faces out for people in my life who want to be private.)
At the beginning of the year, it was kind of hard to remember and now it’s totally part of my everyday routine, like brushing my teeth!
TEN // Posting Real-Time Instagrams
This might not sound that exciting, but it’s certainly relieved a ton of stress in my life. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to only post ~perfect~ photos. Not only did it affect me personally on an everyday basis, but it was also hurting my business. Life is not always captured by a professional photographer and that is okay. It’s more than okay actually, it’s what life is all about!!! Who cares if there’s good lighting or a Pinterest-worthy outfit? It’s such a false reality to assume life is like Instagram.
I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone to put the Insta back in Instagram and I’m having so much more fun with the app again!
Would love to know some of your favorites of the year!!