HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope your 2018 is off to a great start. I can’t wait to share more healthy recipes for the new year, but also wanted to share a short reflection/recap of 2017 about both blogging and life. This post includes highlights, some things I’ve learned about myself, top blog posts, and some of my favorite quotes from the past year. Hope you enjoy!
Beginning in January/February, I started really enjoying lifting weights for the first time ever. I got excited about becoming stronger and gaining a little muscle after being a lifelong runner (i.e. cardio bunny), and now I even look forward to going to the gym!
March included my sister’s wedding shower and spring break in the Smoky Mountains with a memorable 14-mile snowy hike in the freezing rain…In April, I celebrated UNC’s National Championship basketball win and “rushed” Franklin Street, the main road along campus, along with tens of thousands of other students. People were lighting couches on fire, jumping over the fires, pouring alcohol on the streets…it was crazy. The next day, I got the flu and ended up at the hospital 24 hours later for an IV after I got dehydrated….but oh wait, this is a highlight post 😉
In April/May, I started taking senior portraits and photographed 14 senior sessions (over 30 seniors) in a span of a couple of weeks. I LOVED launching my little photography biz and plan to keep it going as a laid-back side gig.
In May, I stood beside my sister as she married the love of her life. We’ve talked about being each other’s maid/matron of honor for as long as I can remember, and it was so sweet to see her so happy. I also spent most of May finishing up my studying for the LSAT.
In June, I took the LSAT after 300+ hours of studying throughout the year and was SO relieved and happy to put it behind me.
In June and July, I interned for JusticeMatters, a non-profit human rights law firm focused on helping survivors of human trafficking and vulnerable children. I felt so passionate about the work there and loved the experience (minus the 30-50 minute commute, although I got to listen to more podcasts than I ever had in my life!).August rolled around, and I began my senior year of college. I moved into my smallest dorm room yet, reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen all summer, took on a new job supervising RAs after working as an RA myself for the past two years, and started working (harder) on figuring out my “what’s next” plan for after graduation. I also enjoyed having all of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.In September, I celebrated my 22nd birthday with a handful of my closest girlfriends at a low-key dinner/game night featuring sweet potato, black bean and lentil chili and Bluebell’s Cookie Two Step ice cream. ❤️
I also started interning with Casey Rose Photography, which was an awesome experience. I got to assist and even second shoot at some of her gorgeous weddings and learned so much from her throughout the fall.
In October, I went on my first official law school visit, attended UNC football games (okay, one UNC football game), and celebrated 3 years of blogging! I also visited my sister and brother-in-law in Baltimore.In November, I hosted a Friendsgiving in my dorm and then celebrated Thanksgiving with my family.
And I took holiday photos for a few sets of families! I also decided to invest more in my photography and upgraded to a new camera and camera bag, both of which I LOVE. I found a killer deal for this gorgeous bag and it’s been worth every penny– it’s made all of the difference in keeping my lenses, camera bodies, and memory cards organized, and it’s as cute to carry around as a regular purse.December brought final exams and then a few weeks at home with my family resting, relaxing, and celebrating Christmas. I submitted my first round of law school applications, did some more work for JusticeMatters, slept 8+ hours per night, tested lots of future blog recipes, and enjoyed going to lots of kickboxing and zumba classes with my mama.
Things I’ve Learned About Myself in 2017
• I thrive with lots of people interaction and busyness. BUT I also have to be careful to not fill my calendar with too many super draining activities/people all at once without also making time for activities/people that are rejuvenating so I don’t burn myself out.
Things that energize me include having one-on-one coffee/lunch/dinner dates, running, working out, pursuing creative outlets, taking study breaks, cooking, walking, spending time with fun/encouraging/positive people, spending a little time alone each day, leaving blank space in my calendar so every minute isn’t scheduled, etc.
The draining things aren’t necessarily bad (and often, they’re necessary!), but I’ve learned to make sure I don’t do all draining things for too long. Things that tend to be draining for me include having every minute of my day scheduled, being in really crowded places, doing schoolwork for hours on end without any fun study breaks planned, spending time with overbearing/negative people, etc.
Recognizing what’s energizing and what’s draining for me has been so crucial for figuring how to balance both in my schedule and give the best version of myself to each one!
• I need 7+ hours of sleep on a regular basis, and since I’m an early morning person, I’ve learned I have to plan my days out to make sure I’m going to bed early enough to take good care of myself and function at my best! I’ll literally count hours backwards from the time I know I’ll need to wake up to figure out the latest time I can go to bed and still get my 7-8 hours of rest. Anyone else?
• Change and transitions are hard, maybe for everyone, and definitely for me. I think every senior I know struggles to some extent working out the details of their future…wondering if they’re making the right decisions, if they’re missing a great opportunity, if they should take the first job offer they get or hold out for their dream job, if they need to push themselves more out of their comfort zones, etc. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, but my mantra for the year has been work hard, pray lots, and figure the rest out as you go.
• I really enjoy having creative outlets and carving out time for those things does a lot for my overall happiness and fulfillment. This year, those have primarily been photography and blogging!
Now…on to some blog-related talk. In 2017, I published 57 posts and had my highest number of annual page views since I started blogging!
The most-viewed posts that I wrote in 2017 were:
And finally, these short quotes are some of the things I heard throughout the year and loved, so they’ve stuck in my mind!
“Love people, use things.”
“The quality of life is determined by the quality of your relationships.”
“Whenever possible, be kind. It’s always possible.”
“Work hard, pray lots, figure the rest out as you go.” -me (I’m kidding quoting myself, but this really was my mantra throughout the year and it helped remind me I don’t have to have all of the answers right now!)
Looking back, 2017 was a solid year. 2018 holds college graduation, the beginning of post-grad life, and who knows what else, and I’m excited to tackle it and report back to all of you 🙂 I hope your 2018 is INCREDIBLE!
So tell me…
Do you have any favorite quotes or mantras?
If you’re a blogger, what’s one of your most popular posts?
What have you learned about yourself lately?