Closing Out 2017: End Of Year Reflections & Highlights

naty michele wearing a beret, red boots and plaid scarfThis is my last post of 2017! It feels a bit surreal writing that out, but here we are.

Yesterday, I shared this message on Instagram and wanted to make sure that I included it in this post too because it holds so much truth and it’s a great mentality to have as we head into a new season of our lives.


Instead of saying, “This will be my year!” Try saying, “This will be my day!” Apply that same mindset every morning when you wake up because as cliché as it may be, each new day really is a new opportunity. I am more than ready to close out the last chapter of 2017 and look forward to everything that I will write in 2018.

I think that for all of us, 2017 has been a year filled with devastation and heartbreak. From multiple natural disasters to politics, terrorism and scandal, we took a hard hit in many ways. Despite all of the different challenges that we have faced together as a country and in our world, it’s also been a year of blessings and lessons for me on a personal scale.

Those are two keywords that I really want to focus on in this upcoming year. Blessings and Lessons. Literally everything that we go through in life teaches us something different. So often those lessons feel like a setback or failure, but ultimately they’re only preparing us for what’s to come. They make us stronger in the end. They are blessings in disguise.

I think it’s so important to reflect back on the year. It’s good to be reminded of everything that you went through, even the not-so-happy moments. It also gives us the chance to figure out ways that we can improve our lives and do better in the new year.

I wanted to share a mix of some of my impactful highlights and challenges from this past year. lifestyle blogger naty michele wearing red booties and a plaid scarfIn January, I made a travel bucket list. I only got to check one of those countries off my list, but I still ended up doing a good amount of travel in 2017! I never got to take another international trip this fall like I wanted to, but I do have Italy to look forward to in August and possibly a smaller trip overseas in the Spring!

Travel Highlights

  • My solo trip to Spain. I stayed there for 12 days and got to explore Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona. Hands down that was one of my favorite trips to date.
  • I went to Cabo for the first time and spent 3 amazing nights at a beautiful resort with an infinity pool. Legit paradise.
  • I spent 24 hours in Denver, Colorado with Volkswagen and got to drive all the way up and down the mountains! That was the quickest trip of my life, but I enjoyed it so much.
  • I went to Florida twice this year to Miami and Captiva Island for swim week and a work trip with Jockey. I always have an amazing time in Florida!
  • Spent the weekend in Cape May for my friend’s bachelorette party.
  • Went to Cincinnati for the first time for a work trip with Always & Tampax. It was an empowering and uplifting 2 days!
  • Closed out the year with one last work trip to LA for a fun concert with JCPenney and iHeart Radio!

Overall, I saw a lot of success in both my personal and professional life this year. Here are some memorable moments to note!

Personal & Work Highlights

  • I became an official LLC! That was a huge moment for me and a professional goal that I finally accomplished.
  • Kicked off the year with a feature in Glamour Magazine for a fun editorial with Clinique!
  • I got my TEFL certification! I can now teach English in any country in the world whenever I want.
  • My niece turned one! It’s been incredible watching her grow.
  • I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding. Such a magical night!
  • I participated in a video campaign project with No Nonsense.
  • Took my first ever boxing class with Reebok and became obsessed! Also tried Surfset for the first time and took countless Cyclebar classes. Loved pushing myself physically.
  • Got the closest I’ve ever been to reaching my goal of moving to NYC.
  • I began managing myself again and it was probably the best decision.
  • I turned 34 and know that the best is yet to come!
  • Worked on some pretty big projects with so many amazing brands.
  • Celebrated my 6 year Blogiversary! Crazy how time flies by.
  • Expanded on my content and launched my Behind The Blogging Scenes Series that you guys seem to love! Promise more of that is coming in 2018.

With success and highlights also comes setbacks and struggles. It’s always interesting for me to see what happens each year and how I manage to get through it all.

Challenges & Setbacks

  • The year started off on a very challenging note after having just lost my grandma a few days before Christmas. It was very difficult helping my grandpa understand that she was no longer with us. He went from living in a house he built years and years ago to living in a nursing home. It was a rough transition.
  • We hit the 7 year mark of my father’s absence and this was probably one of the hardest anniversaries for me to deal with.
  • I had to say goodbye to my car of 13 years that held so much sentimental value because my father bought it for me back in college.
  • My uncle was diagnosed with Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma in May. Thank God he is doing better and got to walk my cousin down the aisle at her wedding.
  • There have been deaths and miscarriages among close friends and family.
  • I got to a low point with the way I view myself physically. It’s hard to admit. It’s been a continuous struggle for me, but something I am constantly working on.
  • I began questioning my purpose in this industry and started to feel like I was not good enough. Because of this, I lost some inspiration and creativity along the way. So happy I got past that.
  • I got really hard on myself this year for not achieving certain goals yet and it’s something I struggled with for a long time.

With every challenge comes a lesson to be learned and as I mentioned above, those lessons are blessings in the end. Here are some important things this year taught me.

Lessons Learned

  • I learned that I can’t put myself on everyone else’s timeline because this is MY own journey. Things will happen differently for me and that’s OK.
  • I realized why I had been blocking off the idea of love for so long and I’m finally ready to embrace it with the right man.
  • I stopped focusing so much on numbers! It was a struggle at first, but I learned that numbers do not define me or the quality of my work. It feels like a weight has been lifted.
  • I learned how valuable it can be to take a step away from the Internet. While I love what I do, it’s been refreshing to take several days to myself without posting anything.
  • I realized that I need to take better care of myself in all aspects – physically, emotionally and mentally.
  • My strength was tested many times throughout the year and it only showed me what I’m truly capable of.
  • I’m constantly learning to take risks, experiment more and continue to step out of  my comfort zone.

I’m saying goodbye to 2017 with my head held high. I’m proud of all the success I have achieved so far and for getting through the difficult obstacles that God put in my path. I understand now why He did it and I’m thankful for my growth.

I don’t have one specific resolution for 2018, but I do have many goals! I honestly just want to continue striving for the best. It would be incredible to start off the year by living in New York City. I believe in my heart that many more doors will open for me. It will be a big life transition, but one that I’m ready for. (Even if I’m a little scared)

I want to expand and continue to grow in every possible aspect. I’m exited to see what this new year will bring me in both my personal and professional life. Maybe love? Maybe a new business venture? Only time will tell!

Thank you so much to everyone for sticking with me this year! And to the ones who began following the journey in 2017, I am so happy you found me and hope you stick around.

CHEERS to 2018! May it continue to bless us all. I hope that every single one of you lives the life that you want in this upcoming year. I love you guys and can’t wait to see what happens next. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 😘

  1. I really REALLY love this post and I’d like to copy your style cause it’s making me think a lot about my last year too. <3

    I'm glad you were vulnerable and shared your story with us though because it's made me realize that we all struggle with these things….so it's safe to be honest.

    • Naty

      Thank you Lexie! That really makes me so happy! I think in this industry it’s important to touch on topics that have a lot more depth – there is so much connection through vulnerability and showing others that they can relate to you. Wishing you an amazing 2018! xo

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