This was still to this day one of my favorite days for many reasons. Darren and I took a little two day trip down to Orlando to see my dad and many men I’ve known my whole life. We got to have dinner with them and then Darren joined in for golf the next day! I got to ride along too!
Besides getting to spend time with two of my fav guys, seeing them have fun together, seeing my guy totally handle the fear and pressure he was feeling (LOL) something I remember most was it being one of Darren and I’s first “road trips” together that brought us so close. We stayed up talking about our future all night and shared so much about ourselves that strengthened our love in a whole new way. It was an amazing way to start a year! We had a blast!
My first birthday (turned 24) away from home and although I was really missing my family and friends (especially my grandpa who I share a birthday with) it was amazing to make all new memories in a whole new way. Since my friend Natalie had actually moved away not long after we became so close, we’d never celebrated together!
PLUS it was sunny and warm here in FL when typically I’m making bday plans around snow storms. To top it all off, I shared it with someone I love so much. It really was the best day. I just watched FRIENDS all day then laughed with friends all night.
I also made the decision to walk away from my bartending job to pursue my coaching business full time. This is in no way a requirement for coaching, but it was a dream and desire of mine to work my butt off for the freedom in return. I still can’t believe I ACTUALLY did it to this day, but what means even more to me is knowing I’ve fought hard for what I have every day since. It’s taught me a lot, I’ve grown a lot, been through a lot but it’s really just prepared me for the goals I have set for this year.
One of my very best friends who I will say went through a lot with me in high school especially came to visit! She’d seen me go through heart break after heart break, one major learning experience after another and really we grew up a lot together. Probably should’ve gotten in more trouble than we ever did but it was SOOOO surreal to host her at my apt in Jacksonville and then spend an evening / night out with her and Darren. I strangely felt so adult. It was the first time something exciting was happening that I didn’t have to worry about taking off work for and it felt amazing. Great times!
Introducing my friend’s kid, Marra. Who is so so so special to me. I’ve watched her grow all year and I am still so excited to see her continue to grow up. This selfie collage about killed my heart! THE CUTENESS! (you’re welcome)
We celebrated my boyfriend’s son’s birthday at the alligator farm! I had been in his life more and more and it was so special to be a part of his big day. He’s a special kid with a big heart and so many people who love him. I absolutely teared up seeing him blow out his candles!!!
ANDDD we went to PUNTA CANA!
Each year my company gives you the opportunity to earn a vacation that’s all inclusive for you AND a guest. It was the first year I achieved all the benchmarks I needed to earn it in full. It was just extra for doing a job I love, helping people become healthier in every way! I must say though, the best part was really being able to treat Darren to it. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s like I fell in love with him 10x’s over on this trip. I don’t know WHAT HAPPENED but he turned into Rico Suave, bonded in a big way with all the other “men” from the team, we danced every single night away and his support for me and what I do grew massively. We left the country together and made it through all the mayhem with minimal arguments (HAHA!) and it was just an experience I’ll never forget. It was a first of many!
We had so much fun with some of our closest friends! Some who we hadn’t met until this trip but really the BEST people! I feel so blessed to know you all!
I also got to spend Easter on the BEACH! Can’t say I’ve ever done that but it was an amazing one for sure!
My sister graduated AND got engaged …. ON THE SAME DANG DAY!
It was sooooooooo amazing. She’s worked her butt off for that moment and she really did find her match. She took the long way around when it comes to education and knowing what you want, but I so admire her perseverance because she’s exactly where she’s meant to be. Now she’s living in Maryland teaching and her wedding is in June! I’m not sure when we grew up, but I think it’s safe to say – we’re grown up! I’m so happy for her!
My momma came to visit!!! We had so much fun on this trip. Going to the beach, eating as much as we possibly could, painting my furniture and so on and so forth. It also meant a lot to me that she got to spend more time with Darren! She even got me hooked on a new show! (Good Behavior on TNT!!! Umm — amazing!) My mom and I’s one on one time has always been special to me because it really was both of us for so long! I love you mom!
Darren and I also celebrated our one year anniversary! I left it totally up to him for our plans and he knocked it out of the park. We’re “experience” people! He took me to a dance class for the very first time and I legit couldn’t stop smiling the entire time lol! I LOVE being surprised too and he did so good! This night however ended with a pretty big blow up fight. Maybe it was one of those ironic things being it was our anniversary but it was a pivotal moment in our relationship. We’d not communicated up until that point about a LOT that we were facing but after both pushing up our sleeves and realizing we needed to not just love each other, but WORK on the relationship we wanted – things changed in a big way. It was a wake up call and one I’m grateful for. We both learned a lot and we’ll definitely NEVER forget that anniversary!
Wowza, what a month! Traveled to New Orleans for our annual Coach Summit! I had the honor to accompany my BFF and coach to the elite reception for our team earning Elite (and her totally kicking ass) so I felt like a TOTAL princess in her dress as well! She offered it to me to just try on and well, I died. It was so much fun! We got to learn from the BEST in our business, grow astronomically and I left there changed. This year, we’re headed in Indianapolis!
More besties came to visit and we moved in together!!! Talk about a week for the books. I’ve known Mariah for literally as long as I can remember and her hubby Josh, well he’s watched over me since he started dating Mariah our freshman year of high school. I didn’t necessarily have much young love and definitely didn’t date any guys as great as Joshie so we became a little family. I sorta third wheeled a lot. (thanks guys) But again, having them here, hosting them, getting to show them around my new world with Darren was like heart exploding emojis everywhere! I couldn’t wait for them to get to know the guy who had my heart and bring him into our family! It was SO MUCH FUN! We definitely ate our faces off and Sunday funday’d rather hard.
Right after they left, we spent our first night living together officially! GOSH it was so crazy to believe but I tear up now thinking about NOT saying good night and good morning to him every day. Like I said, we knew we had some good old communication to work on and we did and still do! It’s a constant which I learned this year! Now looking back, I forget what it’s like to not live with him. (ok, I’m done before I get too emosh)
Our roadtrip to WV!!!! I’m emotional! LOL! Looking back on these pictures, I’m like this trip FRICKIN ROCKED!
Seriously, I am blown away by the serious fam time I got to have this fall. All because of that terrifying thing I did back in February and all the hard work and growth after it. This freedom brought so many memories. Got to take Darren to his first Mountaineer football game with tailgating and a trip to Keglers (the bar I worked at all through college) after!
Complete with cookouts with mom and dad, golfing and of course some hot tubbing! We had breakfast every day with my grandparents at our local diner (The Cotton Patch) and made it out to my other grandparents for a day of more eating and a look at some guns! (Yes I thought my pap was intimidating Darren at first) Such an amazing trip!
My best welcomed home her hubby! This was unforgettable for many reasons, but I felt this insane amount of gratitude in the air especially this month. He got to see his little girl who has turned into a total fire cracker, hug his wifey again and just sit on his couch and watch TV which had to be such a luxury after being deployed. The joy in my friend, Natalie’s, heart had to be immeasurable. It was an amazing day to see them reunited! THEN we all got to just soak up that love all weekend. Family, friends, laughter — it was special. I’m grateful to have such good friends!
I got a surprise 100 dollar bill in the mail from THE Ceo of our company! I had reached a certain benchmark at the end of September that I seriously had no clue I was even close to reaching. Just to know that I’m over here every day working to help others become better and the guy who started this with his mission NOTICES and then pays it forward even MORE! It was so surreal.
I also for the first time and the last time painted my face for Halloween. It took me longer to do it than we stayed out that night. A chill tex mex dinner for Halloween goes down in the books for me.
I traveled way more than I thought this year haha! To Tennessee for Thanksgiving then to WV to see my Dad get married! I will admit, I was nervous about my first road trip with our dog and Darren’s son who is 7. I was like how the heck will I keep them entertained for 11 hours!? Cue some anxiety lol! But I swear, it’s like Darren breathes calm into me. He totally is the calm to my storm and we rocked it. I really did love spending the holiday with his loving family, meeting his brother for the first time, seeing Opryland, and really knowing even though I wasn’t with my family, I was still right where I felt I belonged. Boston even took an interest in the guitar and some singing. We had a lot of fun this trip and boy did Boston save me when I was driving and needed to stay awake!
Back to WV I went and it was another FULL, fun trip! I got to go with my mom to visit where my sister now lived in Maryland! We had so much fun exploring but the best part was we found a Speakeasy.
Yes, we had to press the book shelf and behind it was a bar. Then that weekend we got to see my dad get married! He really did find a woman who loves him dearly and he can be himself around. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous and it was a memorable day for love. SO happy for them both!
I also got to meet for the very first time some of the girls I coach. THIS was a night that reminded me how special bringing people together to fight for their best life is. I loved this so much. I am so grateful to know you girls!!!
A white Christmas in WV followed by a fun New Year’s in here in Florida. I was struggling with leaving Darren and his son for the holiday, but we knew it was best for our families. And I really DID get so much quality time in with so many. When I look back on the week, I was exhausted but for good reason. And as I look back on this year, even though I moved away from home, I feel like I spent more time and grew closer to everyone back home because I CHERISH the time we spend together now. It’s a whole new kind of gratitude. I got to see snow and all. Then coming back Darren’s family was here and we both got to stay in to ring in the new year. I’ve always been bartending or gone out for new years. I really can’t remember the last time I was just on my couch in my pj’s! But I made as many appetizers and finger foods as I could think of, we got the kids some sparklers and horns, the adults had champagne and the kids got sparking juice and it was one of the best I’ve ever had. No muss, no fuss — just food and family. I felt so grateful to be surrounded by that and to really take a moment before the new year and soak in all that 2017 brought with it.
It was an incredible year. Especially now as I look back like that, I am even MORE grateful for everything this year had to hold. May we all take what we learned, what we lost and what we gained into a new year to make it even better than before! Happy 2018!!!