I thought I would write more about my word of the year last year which was “press forward“, but I found it a little more emotionally loaded than I thought it would originally be and I have a rule that I don’t write unless I have constructively processed my experiences. That being said, I thought of “press forward” daily. I found myself often asking: is this what it looks like to press forward? am I having baggage or moving on? what should I be doing to help myself? I learned that pressing forward for me meant taking anxiety medication (life changing) and starting counseling again (which is often really painful).
Throughout all of this, there has been so much good this year and I know it is because I took these steps to take care of myself. I’m appreciative of all of my friends who have been open about their mental illness journey as it has helped me realize there is nothing to be ashamed about with it. I can proudly look back at our accomplishments this year knowing we accounted for our time in a way that we can proudly remember later.
I started my monthly goal linkup, shared pictures of my favorite room in our house: our dining room, started book reviewing on my blog, and enjoyed a dusting of snow in Georgia! I did campus tours for some of my ESL students and taught my first speaking class which I’m pretty sure I was made for.
I shared our living room on the blog (which now looks completely different) and also posted my 5 ingredient beef stroganoff recipe that went viral this summer on Pinterest. I continued loving my speaking ESL course and couldn’t figure out why I was so dang tired all of the time. I was still struggling with Georgia feeling like home, but resolved to work on it.
I talked about my personal style and how I’m trying to define it and a huge bonus: I traveled to Mexico for a spring break study abroad. I realized writing this that I haven’t published all of my posts from that yet, but I will say that the archaeological ruins were hands down my favorite. I ended up getting robbed on day 3 of my cell phone which had been serving as my camera, but I was grateful that I wasn’t hurt. This trip was a dream come true and the only thing that could have been better is if Devin could have joined me.
I talked about how sappy I am about written notes, published this pecan cookie recipe, and did a tutorial of DIY garden plant tags that I was really proud of. However, most of April was just trying to make sure everything was submitted so I could graduate from grad school. Spoiler alert: I graduated.
May was a BIG one. I graduated with my master’s which had been a lifelong hope of mine. I was so proud to be able to walk across the stage and to have my parents and husband there celebrating. We celebrated the time after picking strawberries and eating our way across town with my parents. I was diagnosed with my autoimmune illness after being chronically tired and having a million other symptoms. I was ecstatic when our friends from college Todd and Kaitlyn visited with their sweet babies!!
We embarked on a three week cross country road trip that covered 15 states! My favorite parts of the trip were visiting Nebraska to see the couple that set us up, meet Sallie after extensively stalking her blog, and hanging out with our favorite friends from DC again!
We spent the month of July traveling in EUROPE! There were so many dang photos and amazing moments that we had that I haven’t actually posted any of them. We met with my dear friend Selja from Finland for a week in Rome. She still considers me a friend after spending almost all day with me in 97 degree weather so I’ll say it is a solid friendship. There were so many highlights to the trip and we ended up visiting Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy, and France. Every part of this trip was exactly what we hoped and was just so dang magical.
I came back from Europe completely bitten by the nesting and redecorating bug. I spent my time developing my candle business at home and buying new to me knick knacks from the thrift store.
I turned 28 years old, started hinting at my soon to be launched candle business on my social media, cut off over 8 inches of my hair to help hide my hair loss and ended up loving it, and I was blessed to be hired for the best job I have hands down ever had.
October was ALL ABOUT candles and launching my business! I was lucky enough to collaborate with Benita from BRC Photography for beautiful photos for my website. As background, I have always wanted to have a small business, but it wasn’t until being unplugged in Europe for three weeks that I came up with the idea. I worked at a candle factory one summer to help pay for college and I’ve literally made thousands. I’ve really been loving the part of my brain that is being developed from this and it has already served as a great hobby for Devin and I to talk about together.
To celebrate national adoption month, I shared my adoption story. I shared how our toilets decided to cancel Devin’s 30th birthday party, and we were lucky enough to have Devin’s mom and step-dad and my parents come to our house for Thanksgiving!
We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, I shared questions that I have been often asked as someone who is adopted, some little facts about me, and posted my first gift guide for book lovers. We celebrated Christmas in Arizona seeing loads of friends and family and watched the new year’s fireworks go off in Arkansas before returning home.