The Beauty of Reflection: Here’s To You, 2016

Here we are at the end of another year! Whether you’re excited for a new year or not, you owe it to yourself to sit back and think about what the year brought. A lot can happen in 12 months, and I thought it might be cool to get a bit more personal with you and share some of my favorite moments from 2016 and what I hope to see in 2017.

One of my favorite things to do is grab my phone and scroll back to the photos from the beginning of the year! It’s crazy when you realize just how much you’ve seen and done in a year’s time. And if you’re someone who gets down about not meeting a goal by the end of the year, take out your phone or something you used to document the last year and I promise you’ll be amazed! You probably did more than you’re giving yourself credit for.

There was a lot that didn’t happen for me this year but, as I looked back, there was SO MUCH that did! Despite the disappointments, my year was filled with so much beauty! I’m always talking to you about inner beauty and the beauty you can buy at Sephora but beauty is ALL around you too! This year I made an effort to LOOK UP and be PRESENT wherever I was. Life became so much richer. When you allow yourself to be in the moment and soak up what’s happening around you, you realize just how blessed you are… no matter where you are in your journey.

So, here are some of the experiences that stood out from 2016. I thought these highlights deserved their moment in the spotlight. If nothing else, they’re a reminder to me that 2016 was filled with so much beauty  –


TRAVEL

This year I had an unusual amount of travel opportunities and every single one of them meant so much to me. Looking back, these were my favorite moments!

PITTSBURGH – The year started out with a girls trip to Pittsburgh, PA where I experienced Ikea for the first time! We don’t have one in Cleveland so my best friend and I made a weekend of it. We bought 3 pieces of furniture and somehow shoved it all into my 4 door sedan! We explored the city too which was so much fun, and our hotel was gorgeous! We stayed at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Good lookin’ out, bestie!

 

SAN FRANCISCO – In March, my cousin and his girlfriend who live in San Francisco needed a dogsitter for 2 weeks… so I jokingly volunteered… naturally. The next thing I knew my phone buzzed with a notification from an airline saying I had a nonstop flight to San Francisco the following week. This kind of stuff DOES NOT happen to me! I felt like the luckiest girl in the world! San Francisco is one of my favorite cities!

So I flew out only to be greeted by their beautiful, ocean-view home which I hadn’t seen in person until then! I was in heaven. The first thing I did was take a walk down to the water. I turned a corner, looked up, and right in front of me was the Golden Gate Bridge! My jaw dropped. It was the most beautiful sight and I’ll never forget that moment. I couldn’t believe I was there. I soaked in every single second!

I did so much in San Francisco! I snuck into Benefit Cosmetic’s headquarters (WHAT A DREAM!), I met up with an old friend from elementary school, networked, drove a Jeep along the cliffs of California, explored the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, tried some new food, met new people, and visited the “Full House” house! It was during this trip that I learned it’s OK to travel by yourself. It’s refreshing and extremely empowering. You learn a lot about yourself. Give it a try!

 

OUTER BANKS – Then in May, my entire family rented a beach house in Outer Banks! This was a Christmas present to my grandma. It was the first time we had ever gone on vacation with the WHOLE family! There were so many precious moments that week… you might hear a different story from other family members but to me, this time together meant so much. We’re all so busy and rarely in the same city, so I took advantage of this time and got to know my family on a deeper level. It rained most of the week so we had to make the most of it! I thought we did a great job of that… thank God for innovative cousins!

All in all, despite our differences, our time together is limited and there are no guarantees. Because of this, I treasure the moments we’re all in the same room. And if you’re reading this, fam, I love each of you so much. We’re lucky to have each other.

 

LAS VEGAS – October rolled around and I had a serious case of wanderlust. My best friend and I were throwing around the idea of going to Vegas but with schedules and low funds, it just wasn’t going to happen. It turned out, though, that a trip for 2 was more affordable than we thought!

Fast forward to November, and Happy Birthday to us, we were going to Las Vegas! We were determined to make it happen and it did! We scored a hotel in the middle of The Strip and we had the BEST time! While we were there, we celebrated our birthdays and launching blogs this year… because you know how I feel about celebrating accomplishments!

I rarely travel without my bestie because she’s seriously the best when it comes to traveling efficiently! We had only been to Vegas once before but she knows that place like the back of her hand! She knows the in’s and out’s of EVERYTHING which makes traveling and exploring new places a ton of fun.

During our last trip to Las Vegas, we missed a lot. This time we made excel spreadsheets because we were determined to see everything haha! We explored some of the best hotels on The Strip (Bellagio, Caesar’s, The Venetian, The Cosmopolitan, The Aria). We saw TWO shows which were absolutely thrilling and we ate so much amazing food! It was seriously an epic Vegas trip!


BLOGGING

The other big event from 2016 was launching my blog! I started planning at the end of 2015 and I knew it was time to bring this dream to life this year. No matter how much you understand about the world of blogging, you should know that this piece of my life means so much to me. I’ve become so attached! It’s a part of my life that I’m proud of and a dream that finally came to life. I have a lot of growing to do still and I don’t claim to be a professional, but I’m loving sharing with all of you!

I also wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out to me or supported what I’m doing. It means the world! Every single message, e-mail, tip, like, and comment makes my day. I appreciate it more than you know! I fully understand that my content is NOT for everyone, it’s not meant to be and I don’t take offense to anyone that has unfollowed me or “hidden” my updates. I don’t mean to annoy anyone, I just have a simple message for the people that do read my posts and for the girls battling today’s standard of beauty.

For those of you following this journey, I have so much planned for 2017. I hope you continue to read and continue to challenge me. I want this blog to be even better for you in the coming year. I do this to inspire you and to remind you of your TRUE beauty. Please keep sharing, let me know what you want to see, and don’t be afraid to say hello! I want to hear from you!

 


LOVE

Love… what a great way to end this!

In 2016, I took a break from dating. I wanted to focus on personal goals and my career. I knew if love came into the picture, those things probably wouldn’t come to be. I wanted to be ALL IN. I wasn’t meeting the kind of guy that I saw myself marrying either. Half of me gave up on love this year and the other half knew I needed to accomplish a few things first before meeting Mr. Right.

Well, as 2017 approaches (deep breath), I think it might be time to start opening myself back up to the idea of sharing my life with someone amazing. I’m ready to fall back in love with LOVE! I feel like I know myself better, I know what I’m looking for, and I think I might find him in 2017. Keep your fingers crossed for me! It’s rough out there!

[PROJECT SPOILER ALERT] If my dating journey is something you think you might like to follow, I’m considering doing a series on it! I might even dive into the world of vlogging (video blogging)! You can laugh with me, cry with me, and share your advice all while watching my [live, unscripted] journey to finding love! What do ya think? All this and MORE on the next, most DRAMATIC season of The Bachelorette coming soon to my blog! LOL!


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s and I’ll see you in 2017! Stay Beautiful!