Let's Get Caught Up: Volume 3, 2017 Yearly Edition

As 2017 quickly comes to a close, I've decided to "press pause." Itโ€™s easy to jump quickly into our hopes for the future. We hope that the new year will rescue us from past habits and holes that we have dug for ourselves. We dream of changes that will make us happier and healthier. We make a list of resolutions in the hope that our willpower will be strong enough to launch us into a new way of living.

But in moving from one year to the next, I suggest you pause. Pause to celebrate. Pause to reflect. Pause to take inventory. And pause to see what you can learn from this past year. Self-reflection is a powerful process. I'm taking the last few days of 2017 to pause and appreciate the past year- all of the highs & lows. I dare you to pause too! I recently posted this on my Instagram and got some phenomenal responses from you on how you're pressing pause too. 

As a true visual learner, I like to make lists and write things down. Therefore, I've decided to  create a list of my favorite moments- both good and bad, that pushed me outside my comfort zones and allowed me to grow. So, here it is- possibly the most personal post that I've ever shared. 

Take Ownership of Your Life, No One Else Will:

Just about one year ago, I was extremely frustrated with my career and social media accounts. I couldn't figure out why my number of followers was so important to my career. I had just discovered the term "influencer" and "blogger," (late to the party- I know) but I was determined to take ownership of my platform. I attended a model casting when the client asked how many followers I had on Instagram. At the time, I had about 10K and they laughed in my face, "You better step it up, honey!" 
Out of frustration, I was eager and determined to learn all about why these numbers are so important and how I could improve my own. I sort of took the "if ya can't beat 'em- join 'em" approach. I sought the help and knowledge of Julian Greene who is unsung hero of all that I've accomplished online this year. She has taught me a lot about creating a brand, blog and using the platform I've got to make it a meaningful one. In my opinion, we're just getting started!

Connect & Lift Each Other Up

As my career is constantly taking me to New York City, LA and Miami, I often felt disconnected from people in my hometown. The only people I saw was my immediate family and I decided that I wanted to establish more roots in Buffalo, NY. After reaching out, I am incredibly proud to say that I've met and built relationships with some phenomenal people. Just to name a few: Bri & Matt at Modern Nostalgia, Katie from bkindcity, Elena of Nature's Apothocary, Ryan of Seek Axiom, Lindsay of Nickel City Pretty & Buffalo Blogging NetworkKarina & Curt of KC You There and Colin of Colin Gordon Photography. You've all inspired me, challenged me and made me believe in the power and greatness of small business. It also reiterated that we can only succeed if we all lift each other up. Favorite quote of the year: "We're not competing, I hope we all make it."

Be Open To New Experiences, Even If That Means Standing In Your Undies All Day:

In the seven almost eight years that I've been a model, I've really only done one type of modeling. This year I had the opportunity to try a new type of modeling: "Fit" or "Showroom" modeling, which means I'm hired to stand in while the client hosts meetings with the buyers, showing what the product looks on a body. These jobs can take place in a boardroom or at a trade show in a convention center. It's essentially "live" modeling. Now, imagine doing this in a bra and underwear! Sometimes see-through. This year, I've really learned to embrace my body as it is, as I was hired to wear the lingerie because it is such a perfect fit. There's no room or time for photoshop like I've previously done- these people are seeing ALLLLLL the bits. I've learned to be a little bit more comfortable in the skin I'm in. I've also learned the importance of a proper fitting bra- it's life changing, but more on that later! 

Things Suck Sometimes & You Gotta Roll With It:

In 2017, I've had my fair share "real life" situations like starting to pay off my student loans, dealing with a hit & run on my car (luckily wasn't in it) and spilling a large glass of water on my fully functioning laptop.  There was a sizzle- yikes. I'd say that in 2017, I've grown up a lot in terms of my independence. Although I still have a tendency to get worked up over the little things, I'm learning to create action plans when bad things happen... Learning to handle it like the boss b*+ch that I am. Cause apparently that's just what adults do. 

You Deserve Love, Real Love:

It's no secret that I got engaged to my best friend in 2017. We are now six months away from our big day and I've had a lot of feelings about it.  When Brian & I first met, I was in a bad place.  I didn't believe that I was worthy having a healthy, functional relationship. As a child of three generations of divorce, I didn't think I was capable of having a healthy, functional relationship. As I've grown, I've learned that I deserve to be in love. 
Now, I'm nowhere close to being a relationship expert but I know one thing to be sure: You deserve relationships that make you laugh everyday, challenge you, excite you and motivate you. Brian & I have a lot to learn, but I am incredibly excited to navigate this adventure with him. 

โ€œWe accept the love that we think we deserve.โ€
— Stephen Chbosky

Thoughts become things:

I'm not always sure I believe in one particular religion, but I certainly believe that there is some sort of higher power- whatever you'd like to call it. I believe in the universe and karma. I always knew my career path was never going to be ordinary- I didn't (and still don't) know what that means but I do believe that 2017 has ignited a passion in me. Over the past year, I've done a lot of "I don't know how yet, but I want to get from A to B."  Thinking and saying something is the first step into it's existence. Then you gotta put in the work- that's the fun part! I've learned to spend time on things that excite me, believing the rest will fall into place. 

I don't have it all figured out and I don't think I ever will- and that is okay. All I care about is that I'm a little bit closer to my goals, even if they're always changing. But this post isn't about goals, it is about pressing the pause button! Sometimes we have to stop and smell all of those beautiful roses that we've planted. As 2018 quickly approaches, I'm incredibly excited to press play,  and I can't wait to go on this journey with you all.