How can it possibly be the holiday season already? I just posted my gift guide for her and gifts under $50 and yet I still have no idea what gifts I’m giving this year. Last year I was way more prepared even though because of the pandemic I spent it home in Chicago with my sister. My family has always made a pretty big deal about spending this particular holiday with family. Every year we drive down to the Washington D.C. area to visit my uncle’s home and it’s nice because we not only get to see my mum’s side of the family but we also get to see my aunt and grandfather on my dad’s side. It’s a nice way we get to blend our families in person and spend an afternoon enjoying good food and company. Then we typically spend Christmas traveling to Germany or Spain in the past, we like to make Christmas a little smaller and just our immediate family.
But this year is different, I think the pandemic has really changed the way we look at family gatherings and the safety of loved ones. This year my parents and I have opted for a smaller get-together up home in Northern New York. Even with the change of plans I really love focusing on the things I’m thankful for in the last year. I think reflecting on your growth, the goals you had set for yourself, and the achievements you’ve accomplished is a great way to stay motivated.
I feel like I talk about therapy and mental health all the time here. Mental health has been something I’ve been passionate about since I was in high school but more and more I realize the importance of taking care of your mind and how not only is it good for you, your mood, and your health but it also helps you build stronger connections with the people around you.
I am truly thankful for my therapist, and all the work we have done over the last two years. I can honestly say I’ve seen such a difference in how I interact with people, and how I cope with stress. Working with my therapist has taught me so much about myself, and has given me so many tools to reach for when dealing with big life changes, relationships and so much more.
I’m so thankful I had to courage to sign up, to see I needed help, and to not be afraid to ask for it.
I think this may actually be a first for me, but I’m so thankful for my job, particularly my team. Something I’ve always strived for is a positive work/life balance, which I feel is somewhat of a unicorn here in the United States. I’ve always been someone who comes into the office early, works through lunch, and even stays late after most have left. I’m not shy to put in extra hours. But the pandemic really taught me that while working from home you need to work on that balance or you’ll burn yourself out.
Then we went to France and I really realized that the European philosophy on the workday not only helps with burnout but also makes you happier in your job. Working to live, working your day so that you can enjoy your time off is the right way to work. My current employers, I feel like understand that concept. I don’t feel guilty traveling to Charlotte every month. Everyone is very understanding and open about travel and taking leisure time. They trust you to get your work done, and most importantly I feel like my expertise, my knowledge, and my ideas are valued and heard.
I’ve finally found a company I don’t feel like I’m being overlooked at. I feel like I can speak my mind, share my ideas, and they are heard and valued. My strengths and aspirations are encouraged and I’m not the only one working to get me where I want to be in the company. I’m so excited to continue to grow and to help grow this company every day.
These last couple of years have been years of new because of the pandemic. I’ve been more ready to try new things, let go of fears and do what really makes me happy. I’m not holding on to jobs because “I haven’t been there long enough” I’m not putting off planning a big trip for fear of all the logistics and planning, I’m also not getting stuck in my ways because that’s what’s comfortable anymore.
Every year I’ve always spent every holiday with my family but this will be the first year I spend a major holiday away from my immediate family. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. I was a little scared of feeling a bit of FOMO missing out on our holiday traditions, of sitting around the table puzzling with my dad’s Christmas playlist on in the background, but I’m also so excited to start creating new traditions with other people I love. Getting to experience new traditions. What I love about the holidays is that above all they are about being with loved ones. Putting aside differences the melding of households and traditions to join together. And I’m so excited to see what 2021 has in store.
Traveling to France
A big milestone for me in 2021 that I will forever look back on fondly is our trip to France. I had never planned let alone executed such a large overseas trip. There was so much logistical planning that went into it and honestly I don’t think it would have been possible without Mike’s knowledge and research. But traveling with that group of boys was something I will cherish forever. I loved every minute in that van exploring and seeing France with them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved traveling with my family in the past Barcelona was so beautiful at Christmas time. Honestly, I’ve learned about the magic of Christmas from experiencing Germany during the holidays. But there’s something truly unique about traveling to a different country with your friends. And there’s something even more amazing about traveling to France during the Tour de France.
I feel so much more in love with France and particularly Paris on this trip. I loved trying to speak to the locals, visiting old friends from high school, and getting to watch so much racing with other cycling fans.
This has also been a year of discovery when it comes to my relationship with friends. I’ve had some falling outs, some ups, and some downs, some reconnections, and some realizations, but I am so grateful for the quality friends I have in my life. I’m thankful for some of the tough conversations I’ve had with people and how we’ve overcome our differences and grown together. I’m also grateful for the friends who have realized when they needed space to grow and come back stronger because of it.
I’m also so thankful for the friends that have pushed me to grow into the best version of myself I can be. I am forever blown away by the amazingly creative and talented minds I get to work with on blog photography collaborations, as well as the friends I get to watch create and be inspired by. You all never cease to amaze me.
Finally, this platform is something I will always be grateful for. I am so thankful for each one of you that takes the time out of your day or week to read these posts or listen to my rambles over on Instagram. Each like view, and most importantly comment is always appreciated, your engagement never goes unnoticed. In starting this blog back in 2014 never in a million years did I think it would be what it has become. I’ve never dreamed of the opportunities I’ve been given and the people I’ve been able to connect with because of Dollface Diaries, and because of you. I’ve loved connecting with so many like-minded people and being able to share my fears, my dreams and my journey with you has been so special to me.
This last year has been so challenging, finding the motivation to blog, finding a balance with work, travel, and blogging has been a struggle but I finally feel like I’m starting to get my mojo back. I’m finding my place in the Chicago blogger community, or rather the blogging community in general. I don’t want to fit in a box, that’s never been my brand. I don’t want to do blogging like everyone else out there. This last year I feel like I had lost my way, I didn’t feel like what I was doing was working but the challenges of 2021 are important. They’ve taught me what I don’t want to be and I’m ready to continue on this journey with all of you to discover the growth of Dollface Diaries and where this little fashion and lifestyle blog will go.
This year (last two years) hasn’t been easy, but there are still things like the people around you, growth and change, struggle and successes that are all worth being thankful for and celebrating. So here’s to another amazing year, what are you grateful for in 2021?