Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 // Year in Review

There were so many changes that occurred this year. Between starting a new job, moving to a new city, and traveling to new places, I experienced some really exciting things. Below, I'm recapping my year, filled with my top 12 moments of 2018.

#1: FOUND MY CORE GROUP OF FRIENDS
All thanks to a ski trip in February, I found my group. These four have become my family over the past ten months, filling my life with laughter, new experiences, and incredible support. This year wouldn't have been half as memorable had it not been for Anil, Betty, Dana, and Emily. 

#2: SPENT TWO WEEKS IN CALIFORNIA
Prior to this trip, I hadn't been back to California for more than a weekend in three years. Being able to spend quality time with both my college and high school friends was perfect. I initially went there to interview for a job and see my doctor, but was able to extend the trip to spend the week with my best friends in a place that still feels like home.

#3: STARTED MY FULL-TIME ROLE AT DIAGEO
While I was in California, I was offered a permanent position with the company I was interning for. After much deliberation, I accepted and am so glad I did. Working for Diageo this past year has been amazing. I've really found a love for recruiting, particularly within early career roles. Finding people and offering them a job that could start their career is something I truly love. Plus, my company is so fun!

#4: ENJOYED TRAVELING FOR WORK
With my new role, I've had the opportunity to do a fair bit of traveling. In April, I had a full-team meeting in New York City; May, I ran a meeting in Norwalk, CT, for our rotational program; July, I headed back to Norwalk for corporate induction; September, I went to Tennessee for a career fair; October, I went to Kentucky for a career fair; and December, I went to Norwalk and Québec to host all day Assessment Centers.

#5: STARTED WORKING OUT
This was the year I decided to start getting back into shape. It all started when my friends and I signed up for a Tough Mudder, which prompted me to prepare. Since January, I've run three 5Ks, completed a half Tough Mudder, and started going to Pure Barre. Seeing my body get stronger is the best feeling and I can't wait to continue in 2019.

#6: SPECIAL VISITS WITH MY COLLEGE BEST FRIENDS
I started the new year with a visit from three of my best friends from college. They were able to experience a true Chicago winter, with temperatures below zero. Thankfully, there was a lot of hot chocolate to help warm up. Then, to keep tradition alive, they returned for Memorial Day weekend. We went to Geneva, a tea room, and dressed up for dinner.

#7: TRAVELED TO CANCUN WITH MY OLDEST FRIENDS
At the beginning of June, I headed to Cancun with two of my oldest friends. I've known Keiko and Shannon since I was in the third grade, so getting to travel with them was perfect. Unfortunately, I got absolutely fried the second day we were there, but thankfully was able to join in on the fun after applying a lot of aloe. The sunsets were gorgeous, the weather was perfect, and the company was the best.

#8: HIGH SCHOOL BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING FESTIVITIES
My best friend from high school got married this year and I was lucky enough to join in on the fun. In July, I flew to Oregon to attend her bachelorette party on the coast. We had the perfect weather while we there, plus, I was able to fly in a day early to spend some extra time with Kristina. Then, in August, I flew back out to watch her marry the love of her life. I was also able to catch up with old friends, which was the cherry on top.

#9: MOVED TO CHICAGO
I took a big step and moved to the city this summer. Betty, Emily, and I chose an apartment in Bucktown and it's perfect. There are so many unique features and it's the perfect size for us. Plus, it's so fun to be in the city with so much going on every weekend.

#10: SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH MY FAMILY
There were so many times this year that my family spent time together. We had a couple girls' weekends including shopping, musicals, and fashion shows. We also celebrated birthdays, Kenneth's graduation, and random relaxing weekends together. With my sister moving to South Carolina in a few days, the quality time together was just what we needed.

#11: CELEBRATED FUN HOLIDAYS WITH FRIENDS
So many holidays, so many parties. In February, I hosted a Galentine's Day party; March we went to Chicago for St. Patrick's Day; July, we had a BBQ and lit sparklers for the Fourth of July; October we dressed up for Halloween; and Christmas, we hosted and attended a few parties. It was so fun!

#12: TRAVELED TO DIFFERENT STATES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
One of my goals for my 26th year was to visit new states. I was able to go to Wisconsin to ski, Michigan to play in the lake and have a girls' weekend, and many others. It was really fun to explore different areas of the country I've called home for the past twelve years.

2018 was full of changes, great friends, and amazing memories. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve everyone!


Monday, December 24, 2018

Our Family Tree + Christmas Traditions

I absolutely love the holidays! It's my favorite time of the year because of all the decor and time spent with my family. Over the years, our family tree has become one of my favorite things. We have ornaments hung that were my great-grandparents' as well as some that we bought this year. It's a true representation of our family and the places we've been and the experiences we've had. In honor of Christmas Eve, I'm sharing our tree, some of my favorite ornaments, and the traditions we've carried on over the years.


The Nutcracker
Every year, since I was 6 years old, we've gone to the Nutcracker. After each performance, we always bought an ornament. Around our tree you'll find dozens of ballerinas and nutcrackers.

Tiny Dancer (My Favorite Ornament)
Growing up, I used to dance competitively and my parents always called me tiny dancer. When I opened this in my stocking, it quickly became my favorite ornament.

Our Travels
We started a tradition of buying ornaments whenever we travel somewhere new. These ones are from trips to Amsterdam and Paris; you'll also find ornaments from Mexico, Jamaica, Arizona, California, and so many more.

Mrs. Claus
Every year in our stockings, Mrs. Claus would knit us something special to hang on the tree. One year, it was ugly Christmas sweaters, another it was mittens.

Our Pups
Both of our dogs are represented on our tree. They had to have a spot on the family tree since they are such big parts of our lives.

My Dad
All over the tree there's little representations of my dad. There's this "workshop" bear, a toolkit, and many others.

My Mom
The ornament on the left is a favorite. My mom's had it since she was a kid and we always make sure she's the one who hangs it on the tree. The one on the right represents one of the many ornaments that came from my great-grandparents' collection. We always comment on how creepy the birds are, but we love what they represent, so they're proudly showcased.

Kenneth
The first year the Kenneth joined our Christmas, my mom wanted to make sure he was represented on the tree. His collection started out with a football and a Marine's helmet.

Me and My Sister
All over the tree you'll find photos of me and my sister. There's some with missing teeth, first cars, and some unfortunate hair cuts hung on our tree.

Childhood
Ornaments from our childhood include TV shows, like Arthur, and handmade crafts from elementary school.

Sister Love
Many ornaments on the tree have come from stockings. Bethany and I always loved the ones that focused on our passions or our friendship.


Our Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve: We open one gift and it's always a new set of PJs. 

Christmas Morning: My sister comes into my room when she wakes up and we open our stockings together. It's one of my favorite traditions!

Christmas Breakfast: Every year, we make Wifesaver and have it as part of our morning brunch.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve! As for me, I'll be anxiously awaiting my new set of pajamas. ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

My Fall Bucket List

Last season, I created a Summer Bucket List that shared at the beginning of fall. I had so much fun recapping the season, that I decided to make one for fall, too. Friday was the first official day of winter, which means it's time to share my complete list!


MY FALL BUCKET LIST

ENJOY TRAVELING FOR WORK
Nashville / Louisville / Montreal

ENJOY A MOTHER-DAUGHTERS DAY
Brunch, fashion show, shopping, and a musical!

START MY NEW BIBLE STUDY
My first Bible Study with my new church.

SEE ED SHEERAN LIVE
It was absolutely freezing, but amazing!

HAVE A GIRLS' WEEKEND AWAY

TRY OUT A POP-UP BAR IN THE CITY

CARVE A PUMPKIN
We had a bonfire and carved our pumpkins.

DRESS UP FOR HALLOWEEN

ENJOY THE CHANGING LEAVES
This is why fall is my favorite season.

RUN THE HOT CHOCOLATE 5K
My third 5K was rewarded with a bowl of chocolate.

ENJOY FRIENDSGIVING
Our Bible Study had a wonderful Friendsgiving.

GIVE THANKS ON THANKSGIVING

DECORATE THE APARTMENT FOR CHRISTMAS

HOST A HOLIDAY HOUSEWARMING PARTY

ROCK 3 FALL NAIL COLORS
Grey Purple / Deep Purple / Teal

It's officially time to start my winter activities!

The Stressed Out Girl's Gift Guide

With Christmas right around the corner, the stress can begin to sink in. If you need to buy some last-minute gifts, why not buy items that will help de-stress? Below are twelve items that any girl needs to help relax.

1. An essential oil diffuser for calming scents.
2. A pair of comfy pants for lounging.
3. A bath tray to hold the essentials.
4. A personal massager for at-home pampering.
5. A set of cozy slippers to keep her feet warm.
6. A bottle of rosé for nights at home.
7. A set of bath salts for added aromatherapy.
8. A DIY face mask kit for creative relaxation.
9. A journal to write down all her thoughts.
10. A microwavable neck wrap to soothe muscles.
11. A weighted blanket for a good night's sleep.
12. A best-seller to read by the fire.

More variety below!

ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER

COMFY PANTS

BATH TRAY

PERSONAL MASSAGER

SLIPPERS

ROSÉ

BATH SALTS

DIY FACE MASKS

JOURNAL

NECK WARMER

WEIGHTED BLANKET

BEST-SELLING BOOK

Past Gift Guides

Have a very Merry Christmas Eve-eve!