Hellooooooo. Long time no see right?! Um. 2017 has been a wild ride. It's the busiest most fulfilling year I've experienced yet and it took me away from The Classy Hippie blog for quite some time.
At Christmas, we went around the table and each of us answered the question, "What was one highlight and one low point for you this year?" As I answered, I couldn't think of a low point for quite some time. I was shocked by how long it took me to remember, because we did in fact experience a lot of heartbreaking loss this year and I don't know if I couldn't remember because I'm heartless, because I've blacked it out or because I'm consumed with focusing on the good...whichever way...through all the ups and downs, I'm grateful for this year. Check it out below!
Started the year off launching the new website for The Classy Hippie!
We joined our new Married Couples eGroup with Errol & Daytona Erkan as our leaders - we are allies of the Empire - the Erkan Empire!
Started a new project, The Color Stories that would last for 12 weeks - it was fun while it lasted, but I ultimately stopped when I no longer found purpose for it.
After MONTHS of talking about it and saving, we purchased our tickets to Latvia, Estonia & Finland for our October trip!
I met two of my heroes! Jonathan Fields & Tina Roth Eisenberg at our first CreativeMornings of the year - I still can't believe I met them BOTH on the same day! Learning of them and learning from them over the years has completely changed my life for the better - so grateful to have had the opportunity to thank them in person for their impact on my life!
BLOWN away by all of the people who came together, all of the movements created, all of the organizations that sprang forth all in response to the President. I'm an Independent so I will not stand and promote the right or the left because I believe we should be for each other and our country over a party AND I will always stand for treating EVERYONE with respect, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, etc. It SICKENS me to see people stand up and claim that their life and their "rights" are being challenged by the very existence of a group of people who are different from them. Agree or Disagree with me, that's fine, but don't call me or anyone else an idiot for not agreeing with you. That is ignorance and that is hate and I don't have time or space for either. And that's as political as I hope to get in this post, because unfortunately, 2017 was an extremely political year and it feels weird to not address it at all...
Carl finished his second Architectural Exam AND got a promotion as a Project Manager at work!
Discovered the magic of Lowland Hum.
Went to see a Fleetwood Mac cover band at The Fillmore and it was THE BEST cover band I've ever heard! They even did Stop Dragging My Heart Around [the Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty song.]
Spent the day exploring museums, watching cultural dances and eating delicious foods thanks to the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte's free Connect with Culture Day - absolutely loved getting to explore new places in Charlotte and get just a glimpse at the different cultures in our city!
Found out my Wifey and Best Friend for over 20 years was moving to Asheville, NC from Wheeling, WV - it's not Charlotte, but she's in the state now and I couldn't be happier!
Made my first batch of Kombucha and it was SUPER tasty! Our Zero Waste & Homemaking skills have grown a lot this year!
We lost our boy Shiloh to kidney disease. He grew rapidly worse in the span of two months and after weeks of treatments and giving him IV's of fluids, we had to put him down. It was the most emotional experience I've ever been a part of - actually witnessing the passing of a life you love so much. It's still hard to think about it. We miss you Shiloh.
Started dedicating Saturdays to Future Planning and have kept going strong. Every Saturday, I spend either the entire day or most of the day working towards the life & business I want. It doesn't leave a ton of free time, but it's enriching and has and will continue to pay off dividends.
Attended the McColl Center's first Pie Social. We gathered to discuss racial relations in Charlotte while eating Pie. Positive Social Change & Pie?! My two favorite things!
After 4 and a half years of doing the work, becoming more self-aware, more intentional and exploring different avenues, I uncovered what I want to dedicate my life to, [helping people unleash their inner Do-Gooders by Simplifying their lives.] I know this will take on many roles throughout my lifetime, but this has always been the common thread that connects each and every meaningful experience in my life.
Visited my Wifey, her fiance and their two little girls in their new ASHEVILLE home!
Began giving my side project, Every Street CLT, a brand overhaul and shared the whole design process on my blog here, here, here and here. Here's the final. [I'm taking the site down soon...so check it out while you can.]
Let another St. Patrick's Day go by without throwing a party, something I've always wanted to do - 2018 is the year for this!
Began experimenting with Vegan & Plant-Based foods. Jessica Murnane's Cook Book, One Part Plant is filled with awesome and deliciously healthy foods!
Took my Zero-Waste Period game up a notch by purchasing Thinx underwear. With each pair purchased, a package of reusable pads is given to a girl in a developing country so that she doesn't have to skip school when she gets her period. Zero Waste & Female Empowerment - sign me up!
Gave up coffee to help support my adrenal glands and anxiety. Best decision ever. The last few months, I've had a bit here and there, something about the cold months makes me want coffee, but for the most part, I've been caffeine free for 9 months. [Apart from chocolate - that's TOO far!]
Celebrated 6 years of being with Carl, the love of my life!
Got to spend a day gardening with my friend Page and learn how to grow my own food.
Hired Lauren as my coach and it was the best decision I probably made in 2017! She supported me and pushed me to do the things I had been wanting to do, SO much faster than I thought I could do them! More on our 6-month long partnership later...
Got to visit Charleston, SC for less than 24 hours on an essentially free trip thanks to Carl's work. We had wanted to go for our wedding anniversary but ultimately decided we shouldn't spend that kind of money - then the hurricane hit the weekend we were supposed to be there and they experienced severe flooding AND our friends from Italy were in Charlotte that same weekend - moral of the story - trust your gut and be patient, the things you want will come in time and will be a blessing instead of a burden.
Started a grounding practice.
Attended the Citizen Cope concert in McGlohon theater with Carl and my 16 year old self was jumping for joy!
Spent Easter with our eGroup and got my entire arm covered in henna!
Visited my twinnie, Brittney, in Wilmington for the weekend. We went to the beach, got BURNT, explored restaurants, shops & cafes, made delicious food and drinks, spent HOURS talking and bonding and growing, drank all of the matcha lattes and more. I love this chick - she is my bosom buddy, really wish we lived in the same place so we could do life together 24/7.
Marched in the Climate March in Charlotte. For how many people claim to believe in the importance of taking action towards Climate Change, and our pollution of our lands, water and air - I was schocked by how low the attendance was. Sometimes I worry because at the beginning of every natural disaster movie there's a bunch of people not listening to the scientists and environmentalists about what's about to happen - and then - it's too late. I pray as a culture, being responsible for our own actions becomes mainstream. We can change things. Really. We can!
I announced that I could no longer be my business and that I would be shifting The Classy Hippie into my personal brand and out of being my business and revenue stream. This was one step in a series of many quick pivots I would make over the next few months due to working with my coach.
Had an unexpected visit from our former eGroup leader, David, and went sailing on his boat on a school night.
Lead my first one-on-one Branding workshop. It was amazing and really solidified my desire to work with people one-on-one, directly in their situation and their goals.
Helped my friend Emma out by doing the florals for a wedding she was running. My third and probably final wedding.
I lead my first group workshop on Core Values, how to define them and how to implement more of them in your life and work. I learned a lot from that experience and was amazing getting to meet so many amazing women!
Joined Hygge Coworking! I've wanted to do this since day one of Garrett opening the doors but felt I couldn't for whatever reason. Another awesome and amazing decision made in 2017!
We went back home to Wheeling, WV & Pittsburgh and got to have an awesome day exploring my hometown with my Mom and had, what I didn't know at the time, one last visit with my Grandpa.
We went to Pittsburgh to see Tom Petty on his 40th Anniversary Tour. We were originally planning on seeing him in Dallas, but the tickets sold out, as well as in Atlanta, the closest spot on his tour to us, which left Pittsburgh as our last option. I remember feeling a little tinge when I clicked the pay button, spending over $200 on the tickets, but I promised myself that if Tom was on tour, I would see him. This was my fourth time seeing him - first time was also in Pittsburgh, so I'm forever grateful that my last time seeing him was also in Pittsburgh, bringing it full circle and bringing it home. Our day leading up to the concert was filled with museums, exploring the Mexican War Streets area, eating and drinking, parks, bike rides and more. It was my favorite time in Pittsburgh ever!
I decided that I was not in fact going to rebrand The Classy Hippie but that I was going to launch my new business, The Podge Co. instead and do it by next month with only a few weeks to do it in. I tend to take a lot of time to do things when I'm unsure or afraid of something, but when I give myself little time to accomplish something, I pull it out, somehow. This was also decided after working with my coach.
We visited D.C. to see Carl's little brother graduate from High School. We spent a day in the city, I finally got to visit The Jefferson Memorial and we went to The Renwick and a brewery, that was about it for our city excursion do to our lack of planning, how far apart everything is and how hot it was. Getting some time with family and getting to see William graduate was pretty surreal.
I did it! I died my hair purple! After 10 years of wanting it - I finally did it...and then had an awesome photo shoot with Lindsey Plevyak to capture it and celebrate the, soon to be happening, launch of The Podge Co.
Signed up for my second Plastic Free July. This year was much better than the year before, still not perfect, but at least better.
After months of being sick, we lost my Grandpa on the second. It was really hard. I'd spent most of my life with him just living down the street, in fact when we first moved to Wheeling, we lived in their basement for a bit until we got an apartment. My Grandpa was like a Father to me. He was always there, always a constant in my life. I was his little petunia and my heart absolutely broke when he passed. Returning home for his funeral and seeing my family go through so much pain was one of the hardest things I've ever gone through.
In the midst of traveling back and forth for my Grandpa's funeral and grieving, I still managed to launch The Podge Co. at CreativeMornings - a glimmer of goodness and happiness during a difficult time.
I turned 28! It was an emotional roller coaster during the 10 days leading up to my birthday and I'm SO grateful for everyone who was there for me during those sad and happy times. We threw a Zero-Waste BBQ to celebrate!
I switched my word of the year from refine to abundance in July after coming to a personal realization and experiencing a mental shift. I did a lot of growing this year folks - more deep and intentional growing then ever before and these bullet points definitely don't do it justice.
We celebrated 5 YEARS of living in Charlotte! Gosh. I can't express how amazing these last five years have been! We love this city and the people we've met here. I'm SO grateful to call the Queen City home! We celebrated at CM Plaza since CM Southend was gone and by finally going to Soul!
We got to visit with our former eGroup leaders when they came to Charlotte. I cried when I saw Jennielea - it was the first time seeing her since last December. Love them so much and still miss them so much!
Celebrated the eclipse on the roof of one of Carl's projects with friends.
Went back to Wheeling for the third time that summer - this time for my HS reunion! I took Carl around to some of my favorite places and then we got to get ready with one of my best friends, Natalie, just like the old days, only this time with two little girls at our feet.
Jessi and I got to fulfill a 20 year pact of dressing up as Romi and Michel for our 10 year reunion and telling everyone we invented Post-Its. The highlight of the night was dancing together to Time After Time and spinning around the room laughing. Experiencing that moment, a moment we had planned for 20 years, was the third best moment of my life. [The first two are mine and Carl's first kiss and exchanging our vows at our wedding.]
Picked some of the first food out of my garden! I grew food - ME!
Got to experience my first speaking gig and first time hosting a vendor booth at the Living Well Conference at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. I spoke about the Freedoms in Minimalism - thank you to everyone who came out to support me! It was amazing and I can't wait to speak again, looking to do more of this in 2018.
Launched my very first course! It's a Free 5-Day Course on Making Minimalism Your Own, I've been floored by how many people have taken the course so far and can't wait to create more courses in 2018!
I got a raise at my day job and went down to working 3 days a week there.
October 2nd. The worst day. We lost Tom. I balled my eyes out for days. I remember turning on the radio that morning and heard the news about the Las Vegas shooting and then just a few hours later getting the news about Tom. I know this sounds ridiculous, because he was a celebrity and I never met him, but his music CHANGED me and brought me through so many highs and lows. He, without a doubt, is the most influential artist of my life. I just couldn't believe that two of the men who have impacted me the most left my life only a few short months apart. It's still crazy to me that the last time I would ever see my Grandpa or Tom play was during the same visit home. I look forward to being able to listen to Tom without getting choked up. I hate that music that has brought me so much joy now makes me so sad, even now as I write this, I'm crying. Oh Tom, I will miss you so much!
Page and I got to have a table at CreativeMornings for Be Zero. It was awesome to meet and talk with people about the Zero Waste movement and we look forward to growing this movement and community in the coming years!
We took part in our friend's kickball charity fundraiser tournament to raise money for blood clot awareness and research. It was so much fun but took a turn for the bad when one woman broke her ankle and had to go to the ER.
Carl and I left for our grand adventure starting in Boston and heading to Riga, Latvia - Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland, where we met up with Johannes, the CreativeMornings host for Helsinki! I've still got to write posts on each of these places - a bullet point won't even begin to scratch the surface, but I'm IN LOVE with this part of the world and can't wait to live in Finland one day! This was the best trip ever!
We celebrated 3 years of marriage while we were in Riga and had the most interesting and expensive meal of our lives! Every part of the day was amazing. I love getting to do life with my Best Friend!
October 20th. Tom would have been 67.
We went to Asheville to celebrate Jessi & Josh's elopement [back in April] AND their new baby coming in May 2018!
We also found out, around this time, that Carl's sister is expecting a baby in April 2018!
I tried my hand at making Traditional Finnish Salmon Soup and it was incredible! A new go-to recipe!
I did my first In-Home Mentoring Session centered on creating more time. It went SO well! I absolutely love the one-on-one format, it's so much more impactful and meaningful for both us! Can't wait for more!
We celebrated Carl's 29th Birthday by being SUPER lazy and binging food, movies and tv. It was awesome.
Page & I completed our Be Zero training and can now start hosting Social Hours!
We got to support our friend Callie during her Charlotte Marathon run by cheering her on along the course and at the finish line as well as throwing her a celebration afterwards! Such a great day!
We celebrated Friendsgiving with our eGoup and everything was delicious thanks to Tasneem's amazing food, as well as everyone else's, but let's be real - mostly because of Tasneem - she knows how to do it!
I haven't talked about this yet, but the day after Friendsgiving, Novmber 19th, I decided to give up wine from now until...indefinitely... I'm going to write a whole post on all of the things I gave up this year, but for now, I'll leave it there.
Because of all of the traveling we did this year [Asheville twice, Wheeling three times, Pittsburgh, Charleston SC, Wilmington, DC, Boston, Latvia, Estonia & Finland] we didn't have any more vacation time or money to travel for the Holidays. We would have liked to see family, but were also grateful to have a very slow Holiday season at home with friends instead.
The day before Thanksgiving, we gave up hookah. We'd known we were going to do this for quite some time, so we decided that when we ran out, it would be our last. Again, this will end up in the post...
We celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends Emma & Kevin. It was our first time hosting Thanksgiving. We grilled steaks and played Catan - so much fun!
We took part in the #OptOutside campaign for the second year in a row by riding our bikes from Noda along the Greenway [our first time riding on the Greenway] until we reached Freedom Park. It was SO fun and my longest bike ride in years!
We also went to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market for the first time - lots of firsts in November!
I took part in my first giveaway with a group of local women wedding vendors - another first! I gave away a Free Minimalism Workshop and In-Home session for the lucky newly engaged couple!
Last year, we had our most peaceful Christmas experience ever! Determined to enjoy Christmas like that again, I decided to try my hand at celebrating Advent for the first time. I did a few things, like burning the candles each week and putting the tree up on the first day of Advent, but other than that, we didn't do much. I'm looking forward to growing this tradition.
We celebrated our 2nd Birthday at CreativeMornings Charlotte and it was one for the books! The symphony AND a brass band showed up singing and playing Stevie Wonder AND there was a confetti / balloon drop! I love getting to be a part of this awesome community!
We found out Carl's sister is having a baby girl! Yay! Another niece! [She will make 9.]
We got to take part in our 4th end of year offering at Elevation Church. Every year this is a time to grow and stretch. This year during the Waymaker series, I grew in ways I had been praying for for years! Through this series and this offering, I was able to confidently make decisions with Carl about our future - still can't entirely share those yet, but I seriously can't wait for 2018! We gladly give because our lives have been changed by the ministry of this church and we invest there because it's fertile ground. We want to be a part of others getting to hear God's word and getting to experience the life-changing power of seeing Him work through their life!
My cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Noah - can't wait to meet him!
I finished reading through the Bible! I started back in October of 2013 and finally made my way through! Now, I'm doing a self-guided study on Stewardship, the word that started it all. [That's a long story, but I hope to share it soon!]
Carl and I got to go skating together for the first time during his work's Christmas party at the Bojangles' Coliseum - it was such a good time together!
Page & I hosted our first Social Hour for Be Zero at Legion Brewing. Thank you to everyone who came out! We can't wait to do it again every month!
On December 17th, I decided to give up alcohol for at least a year. First it was wine, then shisha now alcohol altogether. There are many reasons behind these decisions - a post is coming.
I finally started painting our front room. It's something I've wanted to do for over 2 years. It's still going on, but it will be done soon and I can't wait to share the before and after pictures!
We attended Christmas Eve at Elevation with our friend Marija, yet another AMAZING worship experience! I will not take the opportunity to be a part of such an awesome movement for granted. Blessed to call Elevation home.
We had Christmas at The Erkan's! So grateful to have spent our Holidays this year with some of our favorite people! So, so, so grateful for them all!
We found out Jessi & Josh are having a BOY! [My second nephew is on his way!]
I got to experience my first podcast interview. Talking with Erin & Jess about Minimalism and the impact it's having on the world right now, as well as sharing my own journey was incredible and I can't wait to share when it comes out!
I also got to do my first decluttering session this month. We focused in on her home office because she's got BIG goals for her business in 2018 and wanted a fresh, clean start to help her succeed. It was awesome and I can not wait for even more in 2018!
I created my first 30-Day Challenge centered around Intentional Living that starts January 1st! You can join in HERE!
*Other things that happened this year, Carl got another promotion with a raise and completed his third architectural exam! Only 2 more left! 2018 will be the year he gets licensed! Neither of us can remember when these things happened...but they did and they were awesome!
As you can see, 2017 was jam packed. There was a lot of loss and heartbreak, a lot of exciting new opportunities, lots of growing - LOTS, a ton of time with our friends // community, lots of firsts and LOTS of travel. Phew. I'd say I'm exhausted, but I'm not.
I'm totally amped. This is the life I want - one that's full, has me on the go, connecting with people, adventuring, taking time to rest and grow, etc. I pushed myself so much this year, let myself grieve and slow down, made moves, created opportunities, saw the world - and all in a year!
I'm just getting started. My word for 2018 is MOVE and I am ready to make moves, ready, ready, ready! Things that are already coming up fast - finishing the website re-design for The Podge Co. to make it more user friendly, visiting with one of my best friends who I haven't seen since our wedding, planning three group workshops, running the 30-Day Challenge with The Podge Co., teaching a learning party [you'll hear more about that soon], working with 6 new women who want to take control over their homes and finances and oh so much more.
That's like one week into 2018. Seriously.
2018, you gonna be crazy, and I can't wait.
Love & Blessings,