My Top 5 Moments of 2017

My Top 5 Moments of 2017 | Writing Between Pauses

I genuinely can't believe 2017 is almost over. It feels like simultaneously the longest year ever and the shortest year on record. It's also a year of stunning personal highs and sweeping societal lows. But I'm not here to talk about that. 

Sometimes, after a rough year, it's best to talk about the good moments. A study I read in college said that those who list 10 good things about their day, even on bad days, are more positive than those who write about the negative parts of their day. (I'll talk more about this in my goals for 2018!) 

So, for one of my wrap up posts about 2017, I want to talk about my best moments of the year. 

1. Going to Disneyland

Despite being married nearly 5 years, Danny and I hadn't really planned a big family vacation together yet--and especially not with an almost-2-year-old toddler. But when we decided to go to Disneyland, we knew it was a pretty intense undertaking. It wasn't the absolute greatest trip at certain times (in fact, I cried at least 3 times), but at the end, I really enjoyed it and I'm glad we got to have the experience together as a family. Plus, Disneyland is my favorite place in the world and being able to experience it with my son (even if he wasn't especially a fan) was absolutely worth it. 

2. Quitting Dairy

It feels weird to include something like this, but it has to be said: giving up dairy this year really made a difference in my health and skin. I've mentioned about how jojoba oil improved my skin and I think part of that is thanks to quitting dairy. I'm still not 100% dairy free (butter and cheese are still weaknesses), but I no longer use cow's milk in cooking or my coffee, which is a big step forward! 

3. Rejoining the Gym 

I wanted 2017 to be my year of getting fit and while that didn't exactly go to plan (I look almost exactly the same as at the start of the year), I did rejoin the gym. Now, I relish the time I get to spend there: unlimited wifi, weights, and the cardio machines. I definitely use the time to think on everything I need to do and relieve some stress. 

4. Starting a New Job

I resisted talking about this publicly, but in November, the company I had been working at for my day job decided to cease marketing and sales operations. It wasn't a reflection on my skills; I was a one person marketing department, doing everything for a start up in 20 hours a week. The market just wasn't right and I needed more money to do what we needed to do. It was really unfortunate and while it was incredibly stressful for about 3 days, I also knew it was the right thing for my boss to do. Thankfully, I got hired on about 2 days after I found out--at his wife's company! I am happy to still be in the same line of work (content strategy, my favorite!), but it's definitely less stressful to have a team of people. 

5. Starting a Content Strategy for WBP!

You know how I just mentioned that by day, I work as a content strategist? I've always had a problem of being motivated for things for myself; when it comes to work or helping other people, I solve their problems and help them meet their goals... but I am unable to do things for myself (like lose weight or start freelancing full time).

However, in September, I sat down and decided I would give myself one more year of blogging and if I didn't make it work this year, I would quit for good. I'm going on 10 years of blogging now and I've never had a strategy for my work on the internet... but it's time. If I can strategize, plan, write, and implement a content strategy for a client, then why can't I do it for myself? Isn't that the greatest proof of my skills? So in 2018, I'm going to be continuing to work on this strategy, putting everything I know into practice, and I hope to see these skills continue to payoff. I've had the best year so far with Writing Between Pauses. So here's to another year! 

How to Test Out Festival Style Trends as a Grown Up*

I know it’s only February, but it’s that time of year where we all (or maybe just me?) start dreaming of Spring and Summer. And every year, like clockwork, we all start getting emails about festival trends. 

If you’re like me (that is, over 25, working a full time job, and perhaps even taking care of a very small human), you feel a little left behind by all the denim cutoffs and crop tops. I’m not 18 anymore; are these festival trends something I can pull off—or even just try? 

It’s a struggle, for sure. But as we’re dreaming of warmer weather, I got the opportunity to poke around Splash’s website to check out their latest collection. I wanted to share a few pieces that definitely fit that festival trend, but are a little easier to wear. 

(Note: Yes, this is a sponsored post. However, all ideas & writing is my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy!

1. Mix up your classic sweater & jeans. 

I am totally obsessed with these Scallywag jeans from Birds of Paradise. That pretty embroidery combined with a high waist and roll up cuffs? Perfect for those chillier spring days, especially topped with this Yacht sweater from Lovers + Friends. You’ll get that festival vibe without having to go whole hog for denim cuff offs and midriff exposure. 

2. Try it at work. 

“Uh, I’m pretty sure festival trends can never be work appropriate.” Wrong! Ok, maybe right—it depends on what kind of office you work in. But this Elsa shirt in Olive from Stillwater would look great with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt in the office. Add these Libby heels in Black from Raye and you’ve got a festival-focused office outfit.

3. Try off-the-shoulder dresses. 

Off-the-shoulder dresses are one of the biggest trends of the last few years. (Remember when every single fashion blogger was wearing that same chambray, off-the-shoulder dress?) They’re super summery and very cute—plus they give a very late-1970s, festival vibe. I love these two dresses from Faithfull the Brand. The Milos dress in Beshka Print would look cute paired with some simple gladiator sandals and a wide-brimmed hat. The Mali dress in Amber Stripe is super similar, except that it has a really subtle stripe pattern (which means it can be paired with just about anything!) Add some cute boots (like these Free People ones) for a very retro vibe or some cute sunglasses and gold sandals for a simple look. 

Want more inspiration? Be sure to check out Splash

Happy 2017!

In so many ways, 2016 felt like the longest year ever. 

Full disclosure, I operated on about 4 hours of sleep, every night, until 86% of the way through June. So there is a large portion of 2016 that, to be completely honest, I just don't remember. Until March, I was still lost in a haze of pumping, bottle washing, and trying to balance going back to work with raising a tiny human. 

These things made 2016 feel long

But in other ways, 2016 felt really short too. Danny and I went on four (or was it five?) vacations, including to the Oregon Coast, where Forrest saw the ocean and rather reluctantly put his toes in the sand. We mostly kept ourselves at home, having barbecues, going to Target, or walking around the park. Forrest turned a year old (!!!!). 

In context, one year ago, Forrest was still considered a newborn. This week, he said "thank you" distinctly when my mom handed him something. He says real words. He expresses himself. He falls asleep in his high chair when he's too tired. He walks and talks and signs. One year. That's all it took and it's like he's a little boy all of a sudden. 

What was 2016 like for me, personally? 

It was really tiring. Rewarding, but tiring. 

To be perfectly honest, I don't do so great at the "cherish every day" thing. Mostly because I believe that's ultimately gaslighting: you can't make me cherish something I don't want to cherish. I didn't want to cherish the four hours a day I spent pumping, but I did it anyway, begrudgingly, because in my heart, I wanted to and I made that choice for myself. (And the moment I decided to stop, it was the most freeing feeling in the world.)   

Part of me is embarrassed to say, "Well, I did a lot of things in 2016 that I didn't want to do, that I totally resented, but I did them because sometimes you have to do things for other people and put yourself last." Isn't that every mom's life, though? 

Sometimes, I don't want to spend the evening cleaning the living room and kitchen; I don't want to spend my only free time attaching our furniture to the walls (so long quick and easy furniture shifts!); I don't want to put all the toys away again and again and again. But I do them because I have to. It's hard to cherish those moments, when I'm hunched over wiping peanut butter off the floor under the kitchen table for the 100th time or when I'm wrangling a baby into a bathtub. It's easier to the cherish the moments when Forrest yells "DOGGIE" at a group of dogs in the park or when he falls asleep as I carry him inside or when he waves and says "hi there!" to someone at the grocery store. 

Eventually, I won't have to do these things: Forrest will be older and understand more of what I'm saying so he can help (perhaps this is wishful thinking), but for now, for 2016, it's how things were. Washing dishes, cleaning the same messes in the same rooms, constantly doing laundry and putting it away, vacuuming up dog hair. It's not all pretty Instagram feeds and idyllic family photo shoots. 

But 2016 was also the year I made some really important strides at work, the year I launched my newsletter (finally!), the year I learned what it is to be both a person and a mom and how I can effectively balance those things. 

It wasn't the best year. But it was one that I loved because I got to see my son (I made him with my body, is still something I think to myself once a day) grow into less of a baby and more of a child. It was also great because I got to see myself grow as a person.