Last year was about celebration.
This year was about growth.
A recap of personal, professional, and travel highlights of the year. See each below. 🙂 Recaps remind me of the magical, often ordinary, moments that I overlook too easily throughout the year. Although it looks clean and organized here, it doesn’t feel that way as you’re going along living your life so I enjoy taking the time to reflect and celebrate. Also see my 2017 Intentions.
photo c/o Leigh Ann Cobb
Moved to Grand Rapids
I’ve talked about this a lot last year (here and here) and plan to more this year. We surprised ourselves by moving to the city because I don’t think either of us believed we’d actually go through with it. Things were good where we were and it was tempting to settle in to that but no, we had to go and mix it up a bit. 😛
Celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary
I’m still not ready for our wedding to be over! It was such an amazing weekend I want to relive over and over again. In a way we relived parts of it for our first anniversary; sunbathing at the beach where Joel proposed, dancing to our playlist in the living room while looking at wedding pictures, and grabbing free beers at a local brewery (thanks Kate & Mike!).
photo c/o Leigh Ann Cobb
Belle passed away
My 18-year old kitty, Belle, passed away last Fall. Admittedly, I’m very much still grieving. We’ve lost a family member and my first best friend (I got her when I was 9 years old!). I remember the day I got her. My Mom decided on a whim I could pick out a little kitten from the litter (and not tell Dad until we got home). Belle was sleeping on top of the food bowl – she didn’t want the food but she didn’t want her siblings to have it either – and I knew she was the one for me. I miss her sass, attitude, and tough love cuddles every day, to say the very least.
Attended 4 weddings
I’ve been extremely sensitive and sappy during weddings since ours. It’s truly life-altering and such a celebration of genuine Love, especially at the weddings we went to last year. 🙂 We celebrated Love of old friends, new friends, my cousin, and one of my best friends where I was her Matron of Honor. I’m looking forward to more Love this year with my other best friend’s wedding and some close friends in town!
Made new friends through blogging
One of the reasons I started Brave Girl 4 years ago was for connection with my tribe. I was about to graduate college and was really worked up one day when my favorite instructor told me, “Don’t worry, Emily. You haven’t found your tribe yet but you will. I promise you will.” She was right – I’ve met so many thoughtful and full-hearted people like these ladies because of Brave Girl. I’m so grateful for the old and new friendships that have blossomed over this last year. Without friendship and human connection, it’s just writing in a black hole to me. 🙂
We traveled to Texas last Spring to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday and have a long weekend away. We flew out the same day we moved into our apartment…big scheduling error. 😛 It was worth it once we got there though. Joel’s brother took us to local hot spots and we hiked a trail on the outskirts of the city. We also saw the Texas State Capitol on a day people were protesting Trump which I enjoyed. 🙂
Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Last Fall I went hiking with 3 of my best girlfriends in Kentucky. We stayed in a container cabin, hiked the Natural Bridge trail, and sipped mulled wine while watching cheesy Christmas movies each night. It was the perfect road trip before the holiday season started. Full of laughter, deep conversations, and only minor worrying about axe murderers on my part. 😉
Ft. Myers Beach and Cape Coral, Florida
Joel and I spent the last 2 weeks of the year in Florida! We mixed work with play the first week and went mostly unplugged during Christmas break. After a challenging year trying our best to navigate the changes, we were grateful for days of sunshine and water. Most days started with coffee & dolphins and ended watching the sun set and the moon rise in clear skies…truly a dream!
No Man Left Behind Has Heart Design at Starbucks
The design I created in partnership with a Vietnam Veteran as part of Has Heart was made into sweaters, tees, and posters for a pop-up shop at Starbucks Reserve in Seattle. When the Has Heart co-founder, Tyler Way, contacted me to tell me the news I was so excited! Their mission to aid United States Veterans is making this world a better place and I love how far they’ve spread the message so far.
photo c/o Leigh Ann Cobb
Became a full-time freelance designer
Started freelancing full-time the day of the Solar Eclipse. Felt like a good omen, yes? 😉 Some of you might not know but I was full-time freelance a few years ago. I picked up where I left off with added experience, knowledge, and chutzpah thanks to my time as an in-house designer and continuing personal projects throughout.
photo c/o Studio Us
Design Chat at Grand Valley State University
Each year I try to do at least one speaking event around design. I’d like to do more eventually and maybe even teach a design class one day. Last year I had an informal discussion about design after college with junior and senior design students at Grand Valley. I loved hearing where they’re at on their design journey and sharing mine in hopes it could help them.
Opened Brave Girl Print Shop
I finally started selling my handlettered prints last year! I was spending time with my mom one weekend last summer and she was like, “By the time you get home, I want to see your print on Etsy”. It was the kick in the butt I needed to simply begin. Joel was my first sale, Mom was my second, and a handful of you have purchased them throughout the year, thank you! 🙂 I’m now in 5 shops around town and excited to share the new Spring/Summer collection that I’m working on right now!
Woowee! Definitely not one for brevity these days. 🙂 I’m grateful for the challenges and celebrations that 2017 brought and I’m looking forward to what 2018 will bring.
Another year with not many plans ahead of time. There’s a blessing in not forcing things, yes? Intuition and gut decisions work best at the very last second.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2017 and take the time you need if you’re the reflecting kind like me. Best wishes for 2018 and stay warm!