2017: Reflections on the Best Year Yet

This year has been the best year yet! I promise I’m not only saying that because I think that’s what you’re supposed to say. A lot of amazing things have this year that makes me so excited for the years to come.

As I sit here on New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but feel so grateful for the experiences 2017 has given me and eagerly await what the new year will bring. Here are a few highlights from this year that have me heading into 2018 with hope in my heart and the biggest smile on my face

We got married!

By far the best thing to happen this year is marrying Doug. This monumental life event was everything I could have dreamed of and more. It feels great, after over seven years together, to call him my husband.

We were over the moon to have everyone gathered around celebrating with us. The week leading up to the wedding we rented a house with friends from near and far which left us overjoyed and filled with so much love. This marriage marks the beginning of a beautiful journey together and I can't wait to see what that journey will bring.

You can check out some pictures of our wedding here. 

We honeymooned in Mexico.

As surprising as this sounds, our trip to Mexico was the first time Doug and I have ever flown together. After seven years together, it's pretty amazing to still stumble across firsts. It was only our second time traveling out of the country together (we had driven to Canada awhile back), which made our honeymoon that much more special.

Our honeymoon (dare I say) rivaled our wedding for best week ever. We traveled to Riviera Maya Mexico where we stay at the Hard Rock Resort. The weather was amazing. The food and drinks were delicious. And the company was perfect.

Husband and wife looks good on us 😎 One week down and forever to go. #honeymoon

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I got upgraded to Aunt status.

Staying on the topic of things Doug and I experienced together, we became an Aunt and Uncle this year! Our first niece was born this November and we became Aunt Dani and Uncle Dougie. We were so excited to meet her when we traveled to New York for Christmas. She is such a bundle of joy and we're so excited to watch her grow up. She's the perfect addition to the family.

Moose became a big brother.

Speaking of adding to the family, we got another puppy this year! Right around the time of the wedding, an opportunity arose to adopt a precious little smushy puppy and we couldn't say no. We were planning to get a dog for Moose to play with after the wedding, but Sir Henry Reginold (yes, that's his full name), just couldn't wait. He's a mutt, unlike his brother who's 100%, German Shepherd. From what we've been told, he's part German Shepherd, part Husky, part Pitbull, and part Rottweiler. He's been the best addition to our little Doolen family. He has such a funny personality and he and Moose are best friends. He's so stinking cute.

Proud mama of these two boys ❤️

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I ran eight races while repping the Charlotte Marathon.

Early this year, I applied to be a 2017 Charlotte Marathon Ambassador and, as a shock to me, they picked me. What it meant to be an ambassador was informing people about the Charlotte Marathon this past November, getting them signed up and excited to run, and being an active part of the running community at races and events around Charlotte. It was such an amazing experience that got me outside of my comfort zone and introduced me to an amazing group of people. You can read a little more about when I was selected here

Throughout the year, in conjunction with my ambassador duties and a little on my own, I race eight road race. Two half-marathons, one 15k, one 8k, one 4-miler, and 5ks. It was wonderful, exhausting, and exhilarating all in one. I forgot how much I enjoyed racing and now it's definitely something I will be doing more of in the coming year.  

11.11.17 💜#runcharlotte

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I started working with Work For Your Beer.

As I navigate through this creative journey I'm on, I get the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing people. This year, that path led me to Work For Your Beer, an all-inclusive website of all beer fitness happenings in Charlotte. The team is led an amazing group of intelligent women and I'm ecstatic I get to be a part of the team.

In addition to my day job, I now hold the role of Content Marketing Manager, where I focus on all things content. So far, I've worked on writing pieces for the Work For Your Beer blog, website updates, social media, and giveaways. I'm learning so much and am so grateful for the opportunity to expand my creative skill set.

I started freelancing for Offline Charlotte.

Shortly after I started working with Work For Your Beer, I was connected with Offline Charlotte about a freelance writing opportunity. Offline Charlotte provides access to all the best experiences and events happening in Charlotte. I excitedly accepted and it became my first official paid freelance writing gig.

It's crazy to look at how far I've come since I started writing and blogging about a year and a half ago. I can't wait to see what 2018 will bring.

I launched this website.

Before officially launching this website, I had thought about starting a blog for the longest time. But I could never find the perfect subject matter to write about or the perfect domain name or the perfect time to start. Then last January I realized, nothing will ever be perfect.

So I bit the bullet and hit publish. I finally came to the realization that I'm new at this. Things are going to be messy and imperfect and I'm going to make mistakes. I finally mustered up enough courage to let you go along that ride with me. Doing so definitely brought me way outside of my comfort zone. I put myself out there on the internet (which we all know can be a scary place) and hoped for the best.

Looking back, I'm so happy I finally found that shred of courage to do what I had been thinking about for so long. I have absolutely no regrets. It's taught me so much about myself and has given me the opportunity to hone my craft. Sure my website may not be the best. I may have the occasional typo. I may not post as much as other bloggers say I should. But I'm happy. I'm doing what brings me joy and, at the end of the day, that's what matters.

As we head into 2018, I challenge you to find that thread of courage to do at least one thing you're afraid to do. Do that one thing you've been talking and dreaming about forever. Very rarely will you ever find that perfect moment or that flashing light pointing you in the right direction.

If you're looking for a sign, this is it. 2018 is the year to follow your passion. When you take a look back this time next year, you'll be thanking yourself for taking that chance. While day to day it may not seem like you're making progress, I promise you're heading in the direction you're meant to go.

Hindsight is always 20-20. I challenge you to sit down and really reflect on your past year. I bet you'll see you have accomplished so much more than you thought when you look back and see where you started.

Be grateful for the journey. Relish the little things that got you where you are today. If you take that gratitude and carry it with you into the new year, I guarantee 2018 will be the start of something beautiful. 

Happy New Year!!


What are some of your best memories and greatest accomplishments of 2017? Tell me in the comments below!