I’ve been living in this sweater. It’s just a fun and trendy update on a classic chunky sweater. I dressed up this open neck sweater on New Year’s with a leather pencil skirt and heels!
I’ve watched enough snapchats and Instastories to know I’m not the only one welcoming 2017 with open arms. 2016 was a year for many, myself included, that held many lows but thankfully, just as many highs. I’m not sure I’ll set any resolutions for the new year (if I did, it would include something like being present in the moment, work less, read more, & take more yoga classes) but I’d like to take a look back to reflect on the highs the last year held for me.
Update: I just finished writing this post, and there’s nothing like reflecting on the highlights of the past year to make you so thankful for everything life has provided. All the feels. <3
This time last year, I was able to travel to Pasadena and LA with my family to celebrate the new year and the Iowa Hawkeye’s making it to the Rose Bowl, though we didn’t win, we enjoyed the warmer weather, good food, and memories we made during the trip with our family (7 of my 9 aunts and uncles were in attendance from my mom’s side and a few of us kids made the trip – a good time was had by all)!
In March I accompanied my dad on a work trip to Panama City, Panama. We experienced gorgeous weather, a trip to the Panama Canal, and some quality pool time. It was just what the doctor ordered.
When May arrived, Cody and I traveled to Orlando, Florida to cross off the Wizarding World of Harry Potter off of my bucket list. A trip of a lifetime for an avid HP lover. The best experience by far of the trip was being selected in Ollivanders to select a wand…but of course, the wand chose me after testing out a few faulty wands.
Over the past year or so, my blogging has definitely taken a back seat in favor of being more present in the moment. I’m thankful that the time that I’ve spent away from this space as allowed me to bring content that I’m truly proud of, even if sporadically. Posts I’m particularly proud of include:
Old Navy 50 States, 50 Styles Campaign – I was selected to represent the state of Iowa in Old Navy + People.com’s style campaign this fall and I couldn’t have felt more honored to represent Iowa!
My Home Office Makeover – This makeover was a long time coming and I’m even more proud to say it will be published in 2017 – can’t wait to share more details about this in the coming weeks. I’ve spent the last six months working from home and have put my office to good use.
Almost two years ago (time really flies by when you get older), I left my job as a personal stylist at Men’s Style Lab and took an entry level job at Pigott, Inc. as a Client Services Coordinator. So what did that mean? I left the world of men’s clothing to join a company that designs office interiors. I took on a support role for the project management and service departments. This past April, beginning of May, I took a promotion to become a project manager. I place and oversee orders, installations, walk-throughs, punch items, double counts, and just about anything else you can imagine that involves office furniture and installations. I never thought I’d end up in the world of furniture, but I can say that this is a job that tested me in ways that my previous jobs never have, and even on my worst, most stressful days (which can happen a lot in this particular world, furniture emergencies are a real thing, I kid you not), I still enjoy my job immensely! We took a trip this fall as a company to Chicago to visit the Merchandise Mart and Herman Miller’s showroom. Can we talk about GOALS?!
I’ve struggled a bit in the health department over the past year. I have an odd stomach issue that has plagued me for the last four or five years that hasn’t been able to be diagnosed and in the process of ultrasounds, MRIs, a CT scan, blood tests, etc., they haven’t been able to determine what the issue is (there is a vague possibility of ‘silent reflux,’ which is the latest “diagnosis”). In the process of being poked and prodded, they discovered I have focal nodule hyperplasia – benign tumors of the liver. This nodules aren’t cancerous and the odds of them causing any issues are very slim, but I have to get checked out every six months or so to check the sizes of them. I’ve been thanking my lucky stars they haven’t found anything seriously wrong, and every test appears to come back normal, but it’s just as frustrating when I have flair ups with no answer, medicine, or cure for it.
I joined a gym in September and have been going to yoga twice a week. I hope I can find the motivation to hit up Zumba or a HIIT class in the new year – I would love to find a way to figure out the weight machines or become a fan of the treadmill, but I make no promises. I really want to make my fitness goal a top priority this year. In the past I never had to worry about staying in shape, I danced and took classes consistently that I never had to worry much about fitness. Boy, have times changed. So, here’s to being more consistent with my work-out goals in 2017. I’m not trying to loose weight as much as I just want to get back into shape and work on my strength.
Speaking of dancing – I took a Beyonce inspired hip-hop class at the Des Moines Social Club earlier this summer. I signed by myself and had SO MUCH FUN! Here’s to pushing myself further to take more out-of-the-box classes around Des Moines this coming year!
Cody and I have been enjoying our second/third year of marriage (..it’ll officially be three years next May…) and hope to travel a little more in the coming year, no babies yet (but that’s the #1 question we get lately). We love to get together with our friends but we are also homebodies and love to cook (him) and binge the latest Netflix releases. I’m enjoying our time together, just the two of us, before we consider adding any little ones to the mix. This photo is from my 10 year high school reunion that I helped plan, talk about feeling old!
Speaking of babies…March brought us our nephew, Theo. I may be a bit biased, but he’s the cutest, most scrumptious baby on the planet. I just wish my brother and sister-in-law lived closer so we could steal him for cuddles (they can keep him for the diaper changes – haha)!
Cody and I love going to concerts together and we both are huge fans of country music, so of course you could find us in the 12th row at the Back Country Revival Concert at Kinnick Stadium in August. Blake Shelton and Thomas Rhett (with a little Ashton Kutcher thrown in). It was a night to remember!
In September I got my third tattoo. This tattoo had been a long time coming, but I finally booked the appointment when my best friend also decided to get her second tattoo (we also got tattoos together last year). This tattoo probably means the most to me, it’s a phrase my late grandmother signed off her letters to my grandfather when they were engaged and long distance in the 1940s.
October brought Go Blog Social to Des Moines for the first time. We hosted the event at Hotel Renovo and had an amazing turnout and even more amazing speakers.
I was asked to join a few other bloggers and influencers in the Des Moines area to interview Kate Spade when she was in town promoting her new shoe & accessory line, Frances Valentine. Ms. Spade was bubbly, infectious, and inspiring. Eventually I will get an entire post dedicated to the interview up, but a rapid fire q&a let us know that she prefers flats to heels and would splurge on her lotions & potions over anything else!
I am not a professional photographer, but two of my close friends each asked me to take photos for their Christmas cards this fall and I happily obliged. One was an at-home session with the most precious princess, and the other was a day-date to the pumpkin patch!
2016 was the year of the house projects. I’ve successfully painted my office, our master bathroom and bedroom, our entry way, kitchen, and dining room. I also tackled painting trim and woodwork in my office, entry way, entry bathroom, kitchen, and dining. I swear my husband thinks I’m nuts to paint all these rooms when the house is literally three years old. However; my belief is that if you aren’t happy with a room or paint color, do what you can to make it how you want, and thankfully paint is the cheapest way to do so. For example, I just finished painting our kitchen cabinets and trim, and I just want to spend all of my time in my dining/kitchen area. It’s amazing what a little paint can do to a room!
Projects tackled in 2016:
Cedar Posts (more to come on this!)
My goal in 2017 is to finish painting the trim white in our living room, stairway leading upstairs, along with upstairs hallway and our bedroom. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to finishing the trim work in the spare bedrooms, but their time will come!
2016 had some amazing moments, but I’m more than ready to see how 2017 unfolds for us!
Maybe Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.
I’ve been watching Christmas movies for weeks and basking in the glow of our Christmas tree, but it always feels like Christmas always sneaks up on me. Work has been hectic the past few weeks and has taken priority over just about everything, so I’m happy to be on a holiday break for the next week. We don’t have any travel plans, so it’s time to tackle my next house project…painting the kitchen cabinets! Our new kitchen table is scheduled to be delivered next Friday, a month later than anticipated, but once the table arrives, the room should feel mostly complete!
I’m excited to spend time with my husband’s family and my mom’s extended family on Christmas Day, we had to cancel celebrating with my family this past weekend due to the Polar Vortex, but we have rescheduled for a January celebration – no harm extending the Christmas cheer a few weeks, right?!
Here are a few of our favorite ornaments on the tree and decorations in our living room. I hope all of you have a very merry holiday and thanks for following this year!