17 Wonderful Things That Happened in 2017

It's the Chrimbo Limbo and I sincerely don't know what way is up and it feels like a Tuesday and I feel like I should be working but I'm watching Me Before You in flannel pajamas in front of the fireplace at 230PM and I'm not mad about it. This is my best life. 

Current struggles include lacking the will to get dressed, should I move or shouldn't I move, I need to go to Paris and I also need to eat something but the kitchen is too far away from the couch. I also am trying to figure out my life and complete an essay that I really don't want to complete because it's 2017 and I haven't written an essay since 2009. I am craving apple, cheese and cinnamon bread sandwiches as well as banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery (still grieving the fact that the TSA at the airport took my pudding and threw it in the garbage). 

I figured in my current state that it is a good time to reflect on the past year and my shenanigans. 

1. I went to the Philippines for 3 weeks

This trip was a *once in a lifetime but can I please go back* type of adventures. I explored, and did so much outside of my comfort zone while we were there. The nights were days and the days were nights for us, and I was also living in the future technically, so I lived without regret. I climbed Taal volcano. I farmed dragonfruit. I pretended to try weird and exotic food. I became obsessed with dried mango slices. I chased giant bullfrogs. I visited a pineapple plantation. I ate in a waterfall. I found my dream house, it was pink and white and perfect. I ate specialty coffees from the best cafe. I bought a rainbow Kate Spade dress. I ate rice out of a banana tree leaf. I went to a *fingers only* dining experience. 

2. I went to NYC at Christmastime (my Blair Waldorf/Carrie Bradshaw life)

I travelled to New York City in December from the 9th-13th. It was magnificent. I went with my Mom and my sister, Olivia. We stayed in Brooklyn, at the Bed and Bagel airbnb. We ate NYC bagels every morning for breakfast.  We took the subway everywhere. We also got separated on the Subway. Got lost in SoHo. Saw the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Went to Top of the Rock. Went to Times Square. Drank Brooklyn beer. Shopped on the Upper West Side. Went to Cafe Lalo. Went to Serendipity3 for frozen hot chocolate. Checked out the Christmas windows at Bloomingdales. Went to the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo. Went to Bryant Park and I burnt my tongue on apple cider. Saw the Empire State Building. Became addicted to Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding. Bought too many hats. Shopped till we dropped. 

3. Work Accomplishments

This has definitely been an interesting year in terms of my growth at work. By work, I mean my job aside from blogging and Instagram. I received an award for Employee of the Year. I got the Shining Star Award (voted by peers). I received the Content Design award from by boss for designing creative *stuff*. I went to the Philippines to launch a new line of business. I got a promotion. 

4. Personal Growth

I feel like 2017 was a year of personal growth for me. I've never felt more confident in myself and my abilities. I feel like I really know, and love, myself. I think it's a combination of travelling, spending quality time by myself... I also got over being jealous. I mean, why be jealous of someone or something someone has when YOU are wonderful just as you are? There's no point. Like Dr. Seuss said - there's no one youer than you. 


5. Box Series Life

In 2017 I think I watched the entire Friends season over 5 times. That's not an exaggeration. I strongly dislike life without Friends playing in the background. Phoebe is definitely my spirit animal, and I really wish I could find her faux fur orange coat sometime. I may or may not have just spent 47 minutes on Etsy looking for this coat. 

6. Gilmore Girls is the Love of my LIFE

2017 is the year of me finding Gilmore Girls finally and watching it everyday all day until the seasons were all done and then restarting it because I love Lorelei. Also have a feeling that I am the Lorelei to my sister, Olivia and she is Rory.

7. Priorities

This was the year of the realization that I am in fact almost 30 (internal sigh). Which means that I needed to concentrate more on getting ahead in life. Saving money (yuck), not buying that 500$ Gucci Belt (brb crying) and making sacrifices to better my personal future. While I type this I am daydreaming of a faux fur black headband and an orange tweed winter jacket. Ugh I guess I'll pay my credit card bill instead. *face meet palm*

8. Banished Jealousy
I already mentioned this but it was a big deal for me in 2017. I don't get jealous at all anymore and I understand it is a normal human emotion, but I really was able to not compare myself to others and their growth and just concentrate on me. I feel like Instagram is amazing but also dreadful, because I follow accounts and will see a woman's style or outfit and *need* to have it. When the reality is I don't need it. I already have the same beret a shade lighter. And just because the style is cool and lovely doesn't mean it's *me*. Working on that Hillary brand!

9. Smoothie Life Style
I love smoothies. This past year I experimented with delicious smoothies with all sorts of crazy ingredients. My favourite I call "green monster". It's insane. But lovely all at the same time. I even bought a new Kitchenaid yellow blender. She's beautiful.

10. Winning Skin Care
It took me a really long time to realize that skin care is really quite simple. It's washing your face. It's moisturizing. Although my secret skin care is not washing my face with soap or cleanser. It's something that I've noticed drastic results in my skin. I haven't washed with a soap or cleanser on my face for over 3 years. I use coconut oil or my homemade coffee brown sugar scrub. I haven't had a breakout, I don't have wrinkles. My skin doesn't feel dry. I feel like I won skin care. Until this year I found a motherload of facial oils that are all natural. My skin glows. Looks amazing and so healthy! I should probably do a YouTube video on this..

11. Decluttered
I literally gave away or sold garbage bags full of clothing. I went through my library of books and donated boxes full. I sold art pieces that really weren't my style. I've never felt so free! And also now I have more storage for coats which are my true love.

12. Victorian Home Life
I always wanted to live in a Victorian house. I still do! I love the details of an old home. They're quirky and amazing. I lived in a two bedroom apartment of a Victorian home. It was the second level of the house. The house was olive green and had a huge oak tree out front. Everything had wood detailing and was painted white with yellow walls. The bathroom was Robin's Egg blue. I had a small kitchen, and the entire house screamed "Hillary". Until I had to move out. It might seem all roses, but it wasn't. There was what one can only assume was a brothel across the street, and there was a hole under my sink in the kitchen that mice were getting in through. See gals, even though the outside is perfection there's distress on the inside. It's the same with life & people! I moved out of the mouse house, but I really do miss it if I'm being honest. Don't miss the police outside my house every other night though. 

13. Personal Style
I really embraced my personal style this year. I wore colourful outfits. Polka dot coats. Weird and brightly coloured hats. Accessories that reminded me of Iris Apfel. I really just found what I loved and went with it. It doesn't matter what other people think. Style is a form of self expression. I expressed my way to over 8000 followers on Instagram.

14. #MakeupFree
In 2015/2016 I thought I needed to wear fake eyelashes and be like Jaclyn Hill to be pretty and accepted. That's so not true gang! I go makeup free all the time now and I love it so much. When I do wear makeup I never wear foundation and I don't contour. I do a warm eye look and minimal lip product, or mascara and a bold lip. I also am no longer a Sephora Rouge member. When I got that card in 2016 I was both ashamed and excited (weird mix) that I spent over 1000$ at Sephora in a calendar year. Again, priorities. I do find it fundamentally difficult not to order every palette every beauty guru says is a "must have". But I'm working on it! Very interested in keeping things clean and environmentally friendly. Top of my list for makeup - No testing on animals.

15. Baking Queen
I got a Kitchenaid mixer for my birthday. It's not yellow, but I think I may paint it. It's black and badass. I use it for everything. I definitely won baking queen of the year. Also cooking. I am amazing in the kitchen. It kind of shocks me because like 3 years ago if you asked me to cook/bake something it would be out of a box and now I am really excelling in the kitchen. My brown sugar fudge is mouthwatering, my banana pudding is great (not as good as Magnolia Bakery but I used their recipe!), I can decorate cakes... This year I am concentrating on PIES. I need to up my pie game.

16. Dakota
This year was all about people thinking I was Dakota Johnson/Anastasia Steele. It happened at work. It happened at the grocery store. It happened in NYC. It even happened at Starbucks in the Philippines. Meagan at work calls me Dakota. It's a thing. I dig it.

17. Dancing Queen/Bend n' Snap
This year I decided to go back to Danceast and restart Perfect Fit dance classes and practice Yoga at home. I was able to do my first headstand unsupported and really gained back some flexibility that I lost. I'm going to continue both of these in 2018, I really love to dance and stretch.