So. 2016. What is it they've been calling it? A "dumpster fire"? Generally pretty accurate, but on a micro level (my own level), it has actually been pretty good. Great, even. So, here goes:
Places I went:
1) Barbados. Reading week vacay in the sun and sand was exactly what I needed. Pretty much wore a bathing suit all week and developed a pretty strong tolerance for rum. It was my first time south of Florida, and I absolutely loved it. We went to the Oistins fish fry, met some lovely people, took a catamaran cruise, and ate a whole lot of flying fish.
2) St. John's, NL. This was a super-quick layover type deal, but I got to see the lovely Ashlee and Hannah for a quick dinner and drink! It was so quick we didn't even take a picture together, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it happened.
3) Toronto (x2). Twice in less than six months to Toronto has to be some kind of record for me! Both trips were very short, but I went to Toronto Island for the first time, and I got to shop at Uniqlo (!!).
People I met:
1) WAY more Ottawa bloggers! This was absolutely the "year" of meeting people. So many media and PR events, so many people to meet! The blogging community in Ottawa is so warm and open, and I'm truly grateful for the support system.
2) Natalie. Natalie is a Toronto blogger in Ottawa for school, and she and I have been hanging out for the past few months, doing outfit shoots, eating pho, and filming some YouTube videos. I also really like her cat, Mousse, who actually happens to like me too (cats typically hate me because I am 100% a dog person).
3) WAY more of YOU! Every year, I just keep meeting more and more readers and viewers, and it is just as exciting and awkward (me, not you) every time!
Things I did:
1) Started freelancing with FLARE Magazine. Imagine my surprise when in late July, I received an email from the fashion news features editor at FLARE, asking if I would be interested in becoming FLARE's Localist contributor for Ottawa. The learning curve was steep, and it has been stressful at times, but I've been absolutely loving my new gig. Now that FLARE is moving to online-only, I'm eager (and a bit nervous) to see what my role will be in 2017.
2) "Broke up" with my agency. No bad blood or drama or anything, it just wasn't working out for me, and I found I was more successful at connecting with PR and brands on my own. Besides, blogging is still only a hobby for me, so having a manager felt super weird.
3) Went semi-vegetarian. I haven't eaten pork, beef, lamb, or any other non-bird meat since September. I found I just feel better when I don't eat meat, so I'm seeing how long I can keep it up. Aside from the chicken/turkey/fish/etc. exception, I will eat sustainably-sourced meats, like hunted game. But overall, my body has been really loving this experiment.
4) Felt great. I've still had my moments with anxiety and depression this year, but overall, my mental health is in a completely new place. I've said yes to so many things I previously would never have even considered, and I think I'm finally becoming the person I was always meant to be. That sounds a bit dramatic, but in all honesty, my early 20s was not a good scene for me. 26/27 have been a revelation.
Goals for 2017:
1) Plan my editorial calendar better, and stick to it. I go into everything with the best of intentions, but usually end up getting so overwhelmed or stressed or anxious that I just put everything off. It's a bad headspace to be in.
2) Graduate and find a full time job (!!). I'll be finishing my master's this spring, so now it's on to the job hunt. Maybe once my life has a more "set" schedule, I'll be a more reliable blogger? Or is that just wishful thinking?
3) Travel more. This may be in conflict with the "get a job" goal, but hey, a girl can dream!
Thank you so much to everyone reading this -- blogging and vlogging is a tough business/hobby to be in, so hearing from people who read my posts, watch my videos, or follow my socials is so uplifting. You rock!
So while doing this type of post two years in a row doesn't quite qualify as a series or "tradition" yet, I'd like to think I'll have my ish together enough in future years that it will be...
Happy new year to you all. We survived 2016, so really, we can do anything now.