I can’t even believe I’m typing out these words right now, but somehow it’s the end of 2019 already! 2019, WHAT A YEAR! I know I said this last year as well, but somehow, this was both the best and the hardest year of my life. Why do I feel like that every year? Ha!
For the last several years I have done a blog post recapping some of my favorite memories from the year, and that’s a tradition I’ve loved. It’s so fun to look back and see how much we accomplished and experienced! In the moment, it never feels like that much is going on but then you look back and boom, you’ve travelled this huge leg of your life journey.
Check out my recaps from the last two years: 2018, 2017.
For me, this year was all about change. This was the year that I realized I had to make changes in order to get to my goals, and the changes came in waves. It was beautiful, horrible, amazing, terrifying, and transformative- all at once!
The first big change happened only 3 days into the new year- on January 3, 2019, my life changed forever when I got breast reduction surgery! I can’t even begin to explain the improvements that have come into my life with this change, it has created the best year yet for my confidence as well as how I feel physically. This is the first time I’ve ever had major surgery, so of course it was difficult for me, and painful, but in the end it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. What a way to kick off the new year!
Then a month later came my next big change, I started a new job! This is something I actually haven’t really discussed much on the blog or instagram yet, because it’s something that I actually feel really guarded about. Right after my breast reduction surgery I lost my job, and I entered a short period of pure terror. We had debt, no savings, I’d just had surgery, and my income was our main source of income.
It’s a trauma that still haunts me, I feel like I’ll never shake the fear of not being secure ever again. If I hear anything about someone getting laid off or losing a job, I physically feel pain in my stomach to a point of nausea. It’s really difficult for me to talk about something that brought me such pain, even though ultimately, it was THE BIGGEST BLESSING. Within a couple of weeks, I found my new job, doing something I love, with benefits that are incredible (better than anything I’ve ever had!), and most importantly, it has connected me to some of the most inspirational, talented people. It was truly something that totally transformed the quality of my life.
For years, I have been living in a state of constant work, with this job I finally feel like I’m LIVING. The work/life balance that I have with my job has been the biggest blessing for my family this year, and ultimately I’m so, so grateful that my life fell apart so that it could fall together even better. Truly, it was one of those moments where I had to sit back and thank God for how it all turned out. It’s the happiest I’ve been in a job ever, but like I mentioned earlier, I still very much have PTSD from the trauma of losing my job.
After starting my new job, I really started to dive into my blog and started seeing growth on instagram. This is the first year where I really feel like my hobby is starting to turn into more of a business. On Pinterest, I hit over 10 million monthly viewers and grew an audience of over 7k (learn how here!)
On Instagram, I finally crossed the 10k milestone and celebrated by posting ALL THE SWIPE-UPS haha.
With the growth of my blog, I’ve gotten the chance to collaborate with some incredible brands and small businesses! One of my most fun collaborations this year was my partnership with Sweet Sassy Molassy, a small online clothing boutique for women. It’s run by a group of badass women that I have grown to love, and I am so proud of their mission to help dress all bodies in clothes that make them feel confident! What an incredible opportunity it was to partner with them for this year.
As I started getting more and more involved with blogging and instagram, Tony and I decided that we wanted to be more INTENTIONAL with our time together as a family and made the decision to invest in activities and experiences that we could do together as a family. We bought some family passes to our local zoo and aquarium, and Thanksgiving Point (which is like a local museum and activity property) and we spent SO many weekends there playing and having fun together.
Did I mention that we took a million trips up the mountains? Because we definitely did that. Gosh, this world is beautiful!
One of my favorite highlights was a quick camping trip we decided to take out to Mystic Hot Springs. I had a plan to make a few stops and then camp at Mystic Hot Springs, but everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Ha! Every single stop we made took forever or was unsuccessful, it took us HOURS to get to the hot springs, and then once it was time for bed we were all stressed out trying to sleep in the tent and the girls were going crazy, so we packed up at midnight and drove back home. Basically, we went “camping” and didn’t camp. Ha! But it was the most fun trip ever, we had such a good time together and LOVED the hot springs, and took some of my favorite photos from the whole year! Definitely worth a trip out there if you’re ever in Utah!
And then came July…aka LAUNCH MONTH! After posting a story about Pinterest and getting over a hundred DMs with questions about Pinterest strategy, I got the idea to create a Pinterest ecourse. In July, I created Pinfinity & Beyond, and celebrated my first ever launch! I never, ever thought I’d create anything like that, so while I’m still definitely learning, I’m super proud of myself for that accomplishment!
Fall is my ultimate, all-time favorite season, hands-down. So I was over-the-moon excited when autumn rolled around. We definitely had some fun, exciting times, but we also had some really trying hardships. I’ve hesitated about whether I should share this in a blog post re-capping my year because I intended to only talk about my favorite memories, but as I mentioned, the theme of this year has been “change,” and even though it’s hard to share, I want to document some of the big moments we had this year that brought change, even though they were hard.
This fall I really started slipping into depression again. I’ve talked about my experience with postpartum depression before here, so I recognized the symptoms and have been getting treatment, but for the last few months I have felt really low-energy, off my game- and overwhelmed as I’ve struggled with depression again.
Both Tony and I also lost a grandparent this year that we’re each very close with. I’ve experienced loss before, but nothing quite like this. As I’ve struggled to keep my head above water and sort out all of my emotions, I know that my blog and creativity has taken a seat on the back burner for a while, but I’ve also recently started to feel more inspired than ever and cannot wait for the new year. With hardship, there is always light that follows. I know that while this fall brought me hardships that have definitely changed me, and now we’re in a new season and I’m already seeing the light.
Even as I type that out I feel like it sounds cheesy, ha! But I wanted to keep it real here. Everyone will be posting their highlights for the year and it’s easy to get caught up thinking that your life should be better when you can’t see other’s hardships, so for that reason,a nd my own record, I wanted to share those big moments, even if they were difficult.
Enough of the sad talk though, let’s get to my number one, most favorite memory of the year… Our first family trip to Disney World!
Holy cow, if I could only describe the happiness this trip brought me! We haven’t been on a real family vacation in years, our last trip was when Sydney was 2! Every time we’ve gone somewhere it’s been either as part of business or to visit family, this is really the first time we saved up and decided to go somewhere together just as a family, for fun.
And it did not disappoint. We had so much fun! I shared a few details from our trip in my guide to travelling to Disney with Toddlers, but I’m going to share a full recap of our trip soon. Watching my two cute little girls get to experience Disney for the first time was more magical than anything I could have dreamed of, totally worth all of the foot pain, spending all the money, and getting the flu after!
What a dream. I hope we get to go back someday soon! Some of my favorite moments were going on Splash Mountain for the first time with Sydney, watching her choose her very first pair of Minnie ears and get all dressed up at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and seeing both girls excitement every time we rode a ride. We also visited Universal Studios Orlando for a few days and I always feel like magic every time that I get to see Hogwarts in person. What beautiful memories to collect for the year.
While we’ve had quite the exciting 2019 year and so many fun memories, I can’t wait for everything the new year 2020 will bring! Cheers to you and your family, I hope you have a year packed full of magic, adventure, prosperity, good health, and love!
XOXO Gossip Girl
…. Wait that’s not right….. (did I mention I re-watched Gossip Girl this year? LOL)