The holidays are times for family, food, fun and love. It's also a great time of reflection, and for me, 2011 has been definitely been a ride. While it's easy to describe it as a roller coaster, I don't want to call them "ups and downs." Instead, my experiences this year are all lessons learned and opportunities to grow.
Inspired by the recent Independent Fashion Bloggers' Project of the Week, this post features ten of my favorite posts from this past year. It was a trip down not-too-distant memory lane, but also a way to start reflecting on my life as it was in 2011.
Like to hear it? Here it goes... (in chronological order)
They say that if you feel you're the smartest one in the room, it's time to find a different room. Part of a series of posts highlighting my trip to NYC in February for Fashion Week, this one recapped the amazing sessions at the IFB Evolving Influence conference. Milk Studios was that room for me - being there and hearing from the likes of everyone from Yuli Ziv, Jennine Jacob and the gentlemen behind Proenza Schouler showed me that I have so much to learn as a blogger. Though I always stress that I categorize myself as a Seattle lifestyle blogger and not strictly a fashion blogger, style is definitely a huge part of my blog. IFB has been so helpful in being a peer-to-peer knowledge base and sounding board for thousands of bloggers like me.
As I chose these posts, it became clear to me that the personal ones - the glimpses into the inner workings of my life - are the ones that would make it in this top ten. 'Mamas & Meatballs' was written on Mother's Day, thanking my mother for always being there for me, and thanking my dearly departed bulldog baby, Meatball for giving me life. They are my everything.
2011 was my first time at the annual festival, and I loved it! This post brought back countless memories of a couple of weeks in L.A. with the love of my life, capped off with a trip to the desert with my awesome Anisa Leyla to meet up with Andy Fortson and friends for an amazing weekend filled with music, art and the most gorgeous and stylish people I've ever seen in my life. One of my favorite trips of all time.
At my photoshoot for #8
I traveled a lot in the first half of this year and though I don't regret any of it, I barely did anything to nourish myself. Too much indulging and toxic people. No working out, reading, writing, eating that well or blogging. Come summer, I decided this needed to change immediately. I turned to a book I'd read before, by one of my heroes, Bill Gates Sr. Showing Up for Life is a quick read on exactly that - showing up. One of the hardest things to learn is how to say "no," whether that be to attending an event, a new opportunity or to having too much fun as I was doing. This book is a great reminder to me about remembering your passions and your priorities, then choosing to "show up" for those things that matter to you - consistently.
I am fortunate to know many of the talented foodies in the city, but that's always kept me from writing about food here on Fresh Jess. I don't consider myself on their level! I do, however, love going out for a delicious dinner and checking out new restaurants in town. In July, I launched my "Fresh Eats" series, highlighting my experiences at various Seattle establishments. I am not a food critic by any means, so you won't see any of my personal dislikes here on the blog. I simply enjoy sharing my meals and featuring a small business while I'm at it!
Another regular feature I introduced this summer is my "Seattle Style" series. Believe it or not, there are a lot of style mavens roaming the streets of the Emerald City. Seattle Style is a monthly feature on FreshJess, giving you a look at some of the city's most stylish - who they are, what they do, and some of the very best out of their closet! It's another way for me to give back to my city, and the people who make it stylish.
New beginnings... #9
Losing a pet is so hard. Blogging about my dear Meatball has helped me focus my grief and turn it into thankfulness and positivity. It's also been a way for you, amazing readers and social media friends, to share your own pain and loss with me. Thank you! Meatball may be gone physically, but his love and energy course through my soul always. Thank you Meaty pie for showing me what it's like to love like a mama.
It still humbles me every day that people read and listen to what I have to say, not just here on Fresh Jess, but on Twitter, Facebook, now Pinterest and everywhere else. I was floored when Seattle's DList Magazine selected me as their Young Northwest Blogger for their annual issue. Let me tell you, the nominations for this really kicked my butt back into gear and blogging on the regular! Thank you so, so much. If there's ever anything you want to see on here, please let me know! Email me at jess(at)freshjess.com. Take a look at the rest of the Young Northwest 2011 talent in this post!
After a summer and fall full of self-reflection and tons of work, my life has changed radically in just the past couple of months. One of those changes is a new bulldog in our home. Meet Spike, our 4-year-old rescue from Bulldog Haven NW! I'm so thrilled to be a bulldog mama again and Spike's consumed my life. I love him :)
One of my favorite experiences is featuring someone on Fresh Jess and getting their reaction - from them and from their own friends and fans. Brian Oh's been so thankful and appreciative of this feature I did earlier this month, and his friends from the team at Seattle lifestyle brand Rich Kids Clothing to the party rockers of Trashed have also shown their love and support. Nothing is greater than the feeling of good people helping good people!
There you have it. Ten of my favorite posts this year. Looking forward to bring you some heaters in 2012!