Holy hannah, I can’t believe the year is coming to a close. While I want to cling to every ounce of December (because it’s usually my slowest month) and hibernate, I am ready to start adventuring into a new year. It’s easy, living day to day, to forget how much has changed. We like to think that we are the same coming out of one trip around the sun and going into the next, but 365 days is a lot of days to fill. I wanted to do a mini recap on my 2015 and highlight a few of the biggies that truly made this year the best year yet!
1.) Drew: Okay, okay, yes, it’s totally fair to put him first on the list. This summer we celebrated our fourth anniversary and went on a California road trip from LA to San Francisco. We had the best time ever! We also went to Vegas, St. Lucia, and Kansas City by means of train and of course made it up north a few different times. Beyond the travels lived a lot of life. We had the stress of moving homes, the excitement of successful career years, and the joy of doing things together like fostering puppies and weekly date nights.
2.) Wisconsin Bride Best Of Awards: I am not going to lie, that night was one of the best nights of my entire life. All four of my grandparents ventured down from Minnesota with my parents and we celebrated with Drew and my in-laws. It was such an incredible night to see the people I love most share in the joy of my career. I took home the Best of Photography award and finally won the big kahuna, the Top of the Tiara award which is basically the best in the wedding industry (holy cow!) Such an incredible night, the best ever.
3.) Auntie Jenna and Uncle Drew x 2 (and a half!): This year we were so blessed with two handsome, healthy, and hilarious nephews. Owen and Cameron have been such a highlight to us and have given us those childlike eyes again. Seeing them is such a highlight and we are so lucky to have siblings that let us “test out” that whole parenting thing when we are around the kids. I’m not going to lie, Drew looks pretty darn cute with a baby in his arms. My brother and his wife, Sarah, are expecting #2 this spring and I am so excited to keep up my title as the “crazy aunt” when the next babe comes!
4.) Our Girls Eurotrip: I have always told my sister that if she ever wants to travel and need a companion, to ask me. When she said she had a few weeks off after school let out, I knew we would go somewhere. When we chose Europe, we wanted to see if mom wanted to join! The three of us ventured through Italy and France for ten days in May and it was honestly one of the best experiences ever. We knew that if we didn’t just go, our lives would keep happening and we might never get the chance or flexibility to do so. You never, ever regret money spent traveling and that trip was definitely the bees knees!
5.) Healing Waters Trips: Going into this year I had this tug on my heart to serve on mission trips. It was always impossible to go on ones offered because of how crazy wedding season can get but God orchestrated some big things in my life this year and I was able to last minute go on a trip to the Dominican Republic in June and then to Guatemala a few weeks back and serve with the gift of photography. I was introduced to some of the greatest people ever and fell in love with parts of the world I might not have ever gotten to see. Healing Waters has my heart and seeing their mission to provide clean water first hand has changed my world in a radical way!
6.) Jenna Kutcher Courses: Whew, what a crazy year it’s been in terms of being an educator and speaker. Before this year I had never spoke at a workshop, never taught a course. All of these were things I had wanted to do, had dreamed of doing but I was too afraid to just go for it. At the end of this year I will have spoken at five different workshops all over the world, I will have taught over 80 students in my own online courses, and I will have been able to pour into the lives of other dreamers, doers, and entrepreneurs. Big things are in store this next year but it’s insane to see how one year has totally changed the trajectory of this dream of mine!
7.) The Kutcher Craftsman: We never planned on moving in 2015. In fact, it wasn’t even on our radar. After we saw the Kutcher Craftsman, I was done for. It was my dream house for so many reasons: it was a historic craftsman, it had charm, it had been gutted and restored, it was in town and it was on water. Moving wasn’t the easiest and saying goodbye to our old neighborhood and home was bittersweet but we are so thankful for the new space that is ours and I have quickly adjusted to being 3 miles from just about anything and everything (seriously, we even have a coffee shop two blocks away!)
8.) The Year of Travels: From Vegas to New York, California to Guatemala, St. Lucia to Kansas City, Dallas to Italy, I’ve been all over the place this year! My passport and suitcase got their share of use in my 15 trips this year. I visited five countries, countless states, and was packing my bags at least once (if not twice) each month. This was my year of “yes” in terms of travels and boy, did I travel. I got really used to eating alone at airports and packing up my bag hours before leaving (if we’re being honest, my suitcase doesn’t really get emptied ever.) Traveling is such a privilege and I am so pumped to go through and print off some of my travel photos from this beautiful last year!
9.) Puppies, puppies, puppies: This year we took in five different foster puppies (and fell in love with each of them!) After the first little girl got picked up, we both stood by the door and cried. There were many times we wanted to just give in and add one more to the family but we would be insane to try and manage three pups full time. I am so thankful to have been able to get in our share of puppy snuggles (and accidents) while loving on these sweet dogs until they found their forever homes and the adopters were all so incredible, it made letting them go a little easier. Once we get settled into our new house, we will start thinking about taking in more! Until then, I’ll be living through all of the puppy photos that were taken in 2015.
10.) Less is More: Going into this year I was feeling burnt out. I was nervous about how the year would pan out since I had cut my weddings in half from 30 to only 16. I had wrapped up so much of my worth in the numbers game and had finally said “enough!” The funny thing? I was just as busy but with other beautiful things! This year was beautiful, it wasn’t over full, it wasn’t stressful, it was lived fully and instead of my business running me, I ran my business. I am so thankful to have pared down my things (like my closet) and my work in order to be more present and to really be an active participant to life! I’m going to keep the momentum going and continue to cut back each year in order to not miss these wonderful last years of my 20’s! Work smarter, not harder, am I right?
Wow, what a year! I could include a million more moments, people, and places into this post but this is my top ten. It’s been a year of growth, of dreaming, a year of naps, and puppy kisses, and decluttering. I’ve shared in so many businesses successes, captured so many beautiful people, and dreamed a bigger dream for what I want my life to look like going forward (and I’ll give you a hint: more living, less work!) As we start to look ahead to 2016, I am so pumped to see what is in store for us! Thank you, thank you for blessing my business and being a part of the success story that was 2015. I feel so lucky, fortunate, and grateful that each day was lived with purpose (even if the purpose was eating mac and cheese or taking a long nap!)