Hi friends, it’s been a while! I took a bit of a break over the holidays and I am so glad I did. The last few weeks of the year are always a little hectic and a bit stressful, so being able to take a few days off and spend the last week of the year with friends & family was so great! I hope you all had a great holiday & new year… we spent the last few days of 2017 purging & getting organized and it felt so good to start the new year off right!
This week I wanted to reflect on 2017 and focus on the new year ahead, so today I’ll be sharing my highlights & tomorrow I’ll share my goals for 2018! This year was hands down one of the best years I’ve had. That’s not to say there weren’t some struggles and sadness, but overall, I can say that I will look back on this year fondly. For me, having tough moments and struggling helps me grow tremendously, so even though certain situations were hard at the time, I am thankful that I was given those opportunities to put life into perspective and learn from them. Anyways, on to the good stuff…
ONE | MARRIAGE
Nick and I got engaged at the end of the year in 2016, so we were already looking forward to what 2017 would mean for us… getting married! The better part of the year was spent planning our wedding and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We grew a lot during those 10.5 months and every day helped prepare us for marrying each other. One of my favorite parts of wedding planning included pre-marital counseling. It was a really wonderful way to talk about those tough conversations and discuss the things we want/don’t want in a marriage. P.S. I am happy to do a post on this & dive a little deeper if you’d like.
On October 28, 2017 I married the man of my dreams and the past two months as husband and wife have been truly amazing. I’m sooo excited to share our wedding day with you all in the next few weeks! In the meantime, this is one of my (many) favorite photos. This was a candid taken in the car on our way back to our venue after becoming husband and wife. It’s not posed, it wasn’t planned, and yet it captures a raw, sweet moment.
TWO | TRAVEL
This year was full of travel, to both old and new-to-me places. Some travel was for work (like traveling with my #BloggersDoTravel girls!) while other trips were with family/friends. Each destination brought so many memories & I have plans to make my way back to quite a few of them! Here are some of my favorite travels of the year…
NEW YORK: I traveled to NYC three times for work & each time was so great. The times I went didn’t allow for much free time, but I was able to check a few things off my NYC list, like going to One World Trade Observatory. If you ever have a chance to check it out, definitely do! You can buy passes that allow you to skip the line (worth it!) and the views at the top are incredible.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND: I went to HHI for the Wine & Food Festival (see post HERE) and had the best time. I had been to HHI many times, but never for the festival. While we were there Nick and I went zip lining & met up with some of our best friends! It was such a fun trip.
SPAIN: My family and I went to Spain at the beginning of July to visit our friends who live there. I had never been to Spain and it was absolutely breathtaking (see post HERE). We stayed in a villa in Calonge (on the coast) and spent nine days there with our family friends. It was great because they really immersed us in their culture, took us to their favorite spots & showed us the non-tourist spots. After France & Italy we ended up in Barcelona for 5 days. Barcelona was totally different than Calonge and was so rich with history.
FRANCE: When we were in France we visited Marseille & Nice. I absolutely loved Marseille. Everything there was charming, the food was great & the people were so kind. In Marseille, we did the Color Bus (a hop on, hop off style bus) and it was a great way to hit the “major” spots. Nice was so quaint and cute. While we were there we took a train to Monaco and I was blown away by the homes & insane boats. Any Below Deck fans?! That’s all I could think of as we walked along the marina!
ITALY: In Italy we went to Portofino, Rapello, and Santa Margerita Ligure. Each area was so unique and it was great to walk along the water, pop into local stores & obviously indulge in Italian pizza and wine! Rome was my favorite stop & definitely a bucket list item. We had a private driver who took us to all of the “main” spots, including the Colosseum & the Vatican, but he also showed us a few hidden gems too. It was great & I really want to go back.
ST. JOHN: In August I headed to St. John for a wedding FAM trip (media trip). I met some of the nicest people from all over the country who are in the wedding industry (wedding planners, videographers, photographers, & those who work at wedding magazines) and got to experience Cannel Bay Resort. We had the best time & the girls I was with were incredibly friendly (we all still keep up with each other!) It was absolutely heartbreaking that exactly one month after we left, Hurricane Irma came through and destroyed much of the island and resort. I didn’t share much of my trip after that because it just didn’t seem right to share such a beautiful place during such a dark time for the resort, their employees, and the island. I’m hoping to go back once they rebuild because it was such a wonderful place & I had the best time (as referenced by me doing the “sprinkler” during our dance circle with our St. Johnian drummer one night haha!)
THREE | OPPORTUNITIES
I was beyond blessed to have some incredible opportunities come my way, both professionally and personally. In February I headed to NYC to shoot a spread with The Knot for their national magazine (see post about it HERE). It was a dream come true. I also headed back to NYC in May for a shoot in Southern Living Magazine. I got to work with some of my dream brands and I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me and allowing these dreams to come true. I am beyond thankful to those of you who visit my blog & interact with me on social media. I have loved reading your comments, tweets & emails and interacting with you this year… y’all have become friends to me!
FOUR | FRIENDSHIPS
Friendships are so important, no matter your age, and this year I made them more of a priority. It is so easy to let relationships fall to the wayside when things get busy. But, let’s be honest… everyone is “busy” in different ways and I learned to prioritize my time to make more room for my relationships. Every relationship (family, friends, significant others) takes work and it’s so important to show those around you that you care about them.
FIVE | READING
It’s no secret around here that I’m a huge reader. It’s one of my favorite hobbies and this year I really made it a priority (even when traveling & while planning a wedding). This year I read 36 books. You can see many of the books I read and reviewed HERE. I always get a lot of questions about how I read as much as I do and it’s simple: I make time for it. I bring a book with me everywhere, I read instead of scrolling on my phone & I read before bed. Every year Goodreads does a reading challenge (that’s how I keep up with all of my books) and this year I am challenging myself to read 40 books. I would love to hear any book recs you all have!
SIX | FAMILY
This was a big year for family. Nick and I are *officially* a family now (along with Charlie, duh!) which was the happiest change. I know it may sound weird, but there is something so emotional and great about starting a family of your own… even if it is just me, Nick, and Charlie for now! I also gained an entire new family at the end of October and it’s been such a blessing knowing I have a whole other side of family that’s there to support us. I went on a 3.5 week trip with my family in July and it was truly one of the best trips we’ve had together. So many memories were made that will last a lifetime. In October I got a nephew exactly 24 hours before my grandfather passed away (almost to the minute…) It’s funny how life works sometimes. We were all devastated over my grandfather’s passing but a little baby added some joy to our family when we really needed it. That’s not to say it wasn’t also a very hard year with family too. We struggled with quite a few personal issues (that I won’t be sharing) that made me cry numerous times on numerous days. Even though there were many days of unanswered questions, asking “why?” constantly, and feeling defeated we all ended up coming out on top and stronger than ever. I am so incredibly lucky to have the (very big) family that I have and I’m thrilled to have an entire new side this year too!
Thank you all so much for reading & following along! I wish you all the best year ahead and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for Life with Emily! XO