2016 In Review

2016 - what a year! Every year comes with its fair share of ups and downs. This year has been full of change for our family and for me personally. Though we had some tough days, I say farewell to 2016 with a smile and some bubbly in my glass. The tough days made us stronger, taught us lessons, and allowed us to grow both personally and professionally. 

Cheersing after a long day of moving into our new home!

I am overwhelmed by the amount of positive change that has happened in our lives this year. As I sit here writing this, thinking about all that we have experienced and accomplished this year, I feel nothing but gratitude, even for the tough times. 

In May, we moved out of our tiny 1 bedroom apartment and traded it for home ownership. Finding a home in Atlanta was more difficult than I could have imagined - by the time we were able to visit a new listing during the day, offers were already coming in. In the end, we made the decision to purchase a new construction townhome, and we couldn't be happier with the decision! The designer in me loved being able to choose our paint colors, floor stain, countertops, backsplash, etc. There is nothing like having a new home that fits you perfectly! We are obsessed and can't wait to make many more memories in this home. 

We also experienced career changes, got promotions (so proud of Matt!), made new friends and deepened our relationships with old ones, and traveled to new places. We are very, very blessed. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our year.

About to take a nap and looking so cute!

Eloise turned four this year. She is our sweet cat and we love her to pieces! This year, she has experienced stairs for the first time, continued refining her talent for hiding my hair elastics, took begging for food to a new level, and saw her first fireplace. What a thrill it has been to watch her grow! (I am definitely kidding with this paragraph... kind of)

Us on closing night of camp after a week of volunteering.

Matt and I took a trip "home" this year to volunteer at the summer camp where we met and grew up: YMCA Camp Thunderbird. We went with my two best girl-friends who I served on leadership staff with years ago. We wanted to go back to where it all started and volunteer as cabin and activity counselors. This was something that made us nervous because we didn't know many people who still worked there as cabin counselors, and many of those that did were actually our former campers! This made us feel old and nervous, but we decided to take a leap of faith and spend a week at our favorite place in the world serving some awesome kiddos and reliving the glory days. Y'all - this was the best thing we did all year. I strengthened my friendships with my two best friends and re-energized my marriage (there is something about watching my husband working with children and sailing with my campers that makes my heart skip a beat). Teaching kids how to water ski for a week and disconnecting from social media, email, and work was fun, hilarious, refreshing, and meaningful. We are already considering other volunteer opportunities at camp again in the future. And... I am thinking I will finally convince Matt to also volunteer at Camp Kudzu, my other camp home! Both organizations are wonderful and have blessed many children and staff members alike over the years. 

I had the privilege of attending The School of Styling back in October in Chapel Hill, NC. I had been wanting to attend a workshop for a while, and although it made me nervous to step outside of my comfort zone, I am so glad I did it. It was an amazing experience that completely changed the trajectory of my career for the better. The hands on styling work, design instruction, and business sessions were critical for my professional development as a creative business owner, but the connections I made while I was there were invaluable. These ladies showed me so much support while I was there and have continued to support me in the months following. Read about our experiences herehere, here, and here on the TSOS blog. If you are considering a workshop, TSOS is a great investment and I would be happy to connect with you to tell you all about it!  

My centerpiece and tabletop styling work at The School of Styling - Photo: Ally and Bobby

And finally, I was able to serve some amazing couples this year. Working with them and helping them have an unforgettable wedding day was such a highlight of my year. Congratulations to all of my former brides and grooms! You were all a joy to partner with. Thank you for the laughs, the (happy) tears, the dance moves, and the hugs. It is a distinct honor to have such an important role in your engagement and wedding day. Because of your support and friendship, I have been able to open my own company to continue doing what I love. You make it all worth it. This job has been so rewarding - I couldn't imagine doing anything else. 

Most of the photos above were taken by yours truly, but some of them were snapped by the professionals - Leah and Mark, Emily Dean Photography, & Four Corners Photography

Thank you to everyone who has shared life with me this year! Cheers to 2016! 2017, I can't wait to see what you have in store for us!