Sunday, December 30, 2018

Year in Review: Looking Back on 2018

2018 is about to draw to a close. And, as is customary at the end of any year, I'm in the midst of some deep reflection. 2018 was one of those years that, while it had some ups and some definite downs, was still by all accounts a very happy one. I don't know if that's because I'm finally at a good place with my mental health (thank you to three very intense years of therapy for that one -- and, actually, that's something I'll be talking about and sharing more of in the coming year), but it seems that even when life threw some pretty major curve balls at me, I was still able to approach them with positivity, happiness and good intentions.

I don't really make resolutions. But my one main goal for 2018 -- I guess you can call it a resolution if you will -- was to be HAPPY. And I'd say I approached that goal/challenge/resolution head on. (See the photo above for proof -- that's me on my birthday.) I made new friends. I went to Disneyland -- A LOT. I took one of the best vacations of my life.

Not all was rosy. I lost my job and spent three months unemployed, making no money, burning through my savings and worrying about how I'd pay my rent or eat. I've never worked so hard to find work. This unfortunately also took its toll on my body -- I've definitely gained some weight, and I've also spent the last two months of the year suffering from a bout of stress hives (though I think they're hopefully, finally going away). Thankfully, I'm ending the year with an amazing new job at a company I really love, and I am beyond grateful.

We only have one life. And, the fact is, we never know how much time we're really going to have. This past year, I continued to take it upon myself to make my life everything it could possibly be. Am I exactly where I want to be now that 2018 is ending and 2019 is fast approaching? No. But am I pretty darn close? A resounding yes. LA has been and continues to be the place that makes me feel like my true, best self.

My hope for all of you is that, as 2018 ends and 2019 begins, you feel like you're on the path toward being happy, healthy and both who and where you want to be.

Please indulge me as I take a (not so) quick walk down the memory lane of 2018. (Spoiler alert: there are a LOT of photos!) Here's to everything 2019 has to offer -- happy new year!

These two ladies -- Rosemary and Vanessa -- are two of the best people I worked with at JustFab. I spent a lot of time with them this year, starting with an evening out in January where we laughed, talked and ate a LOT of good sushi.
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good wall mural! This Love Wall on Melrose by @jgoldcrown is one of my favorites.
My friend Bri came out from Pittsburgh to visit for my birthday! This was the second time she came out, and we decided to make it an annual thing (not always for my birthday, but just in general).
Can you tell that Palm Springs agrees with me? This was during my birthday trip with some of my closest friends.
It wouldn't be the end of my birthday month without a visit from my mom! We decided to go to the Santa Monica Pier one cold January night, and we simply had to take a photo at the end of Route 66!

I. Love. Popups. And, while the Museum of Illusions wasn't necessarily the best one ever (read my review here), it did provide me with one of my favorite photos I've ever taken, so there's that.

I told you I love popups! My friend Erin and I visited Candytopia and took a LOT of photos and Boomerangs on this 100 swing.
Seriously, can you think of anything better than swimming in a pool of marshmallows? At Candytopia, that became a reality!
It just wouldn't be a year in the life of the Beauty Chick without at least one manicure! Between Deborah Lippmann Maniac, Picture Polish Salt Water and nail stencils from What's Up Nails, this definitely became one of the standouts of the year for me. Read my full review of this manicure here.
If you want a photographer to take INCREDIBLE photos, look no further than my friend Jake Douglas. I had this idea for a balloon shoot and he executed it better than I ever could have imagined! Definitely one of my favorite days of 2018. Check out more of the photos here, here, here and here -- and follow Jake here.
Just one of about a million beautiful sunsets in LA -- this one was in Manhattan Beach.
Gregory Arlt has been my favorite makeup artist and one of my favorite people for over 10 years. He launched a makeup line for M.A.C, and of course my friend Claire and I had to go and support him!

Well, when Kocostar sends you their Rose Slice Mask to test out, why not do it with one of your besties?
I took a trip to San Diego to see some old friends and meet some new ones. This was taken at Sunset Cliffs -- I loved every moment of my time here.
Speaking of new friends ... this is James! We met through a blogging group we're both in and became fast Insta friends. When I came down to San Diego, we spent an afternoon roaming around North Park (and he's the one who took that photo of me at Sunset Cliffs). He's such a sweetheart and I'm glad an Insta friendship became a genuine one! Follow him on Instagram here.
Did someone say Harry Potter World? My friend Gabe wanted to go one day, and of course I jumped at the chance. And, when I saw this very cute train conductor, I jumped at the chance to have my pic taken with him! (FYI: he loved my leggings and said I was ready for Hogwarts with the galactic print.)

You guys. Those are real pressed flowers on my nails. I NEVER do gel, but I really wanted to experience the magic of Color Camp, so I made an exception. AND THEY PUT REAL FLOWERS ON MY NAILS. Read all about the experience here.
I'm lucky enough to get to experience my fair share of movie premieres in LA, thanks to my fabulous friend Tom, who works for one of the movie studios (he's the gorgeous blonde one next to me). This was at the after party for the premiere of Adrift -- my friend Gerold is on my left, and Tom's boyfriend is on his right. What an incredible evening!
I've gone pink before, but never quite like this! My hairstylist, Jesse German, took me to this fiery place of hot pink and red -- and didn't destroy even a strand of my hair in the process!
Another month, another popup -- this time at Saved by the Max, the Saved by the Bell themed popup! I got tickets about 5 months in advance and it was definitely worth the wait!

Hey look, Bri and I got together again -- and this time it's because she got MARRIED!! I even went back to Pittsburgh for the big day. I really wouldn't go there for anyone else -- but I'm so glad I was able to be there for her.
Being in Pittsburgh meant I got to spend time with my best friend, Katie! She and her family moved there a little over a year ago, so I stayed with her and took her as my date to Bri's wedding. Almost 30 years of friendship later and we're still going strong!
Caren is one of my favorite friends EVER -- and one of the people who really stuck by me during everything happening during my Pittsburgh meltdown. I'm so glad I got to see her when I went back.
No trip to Pittsburgh would be complete without some cuddle time with my favorite dog in the whole world -- Caren's pit bull, Kali! (This may or may not be my Tinder and Bumble profile pic.)
My mom came out to California again, and this time I took her to Palm Springs for the first time! On the way back, we simply had to stop and see the Cabazon dinosaurs!
The Skirball Center had a special Jim Henson exhibit, so you KNOW I had to check it out. All I could do throughout the whole exhibit was smile!

My friend Jenny and I went to our first Dodgers game! They happened to be playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they CRUSHED the Pirates 17-1!
I met a dolphin. Repeat: I MET A DOLPHIN. Tuul is basically my new boyfriend -- we met during my trip to Tulum.
My trip to Tulum was life changing. One of the best vacations I've ever been on, not to mention I made some amazing friends! This was at the Gran Cenote, and yes, it was FREEZING.
Enjoying the Gran Cenote!
Swimming at the Gran Cenote was one of my favorite experiences to date. Read all about my magical trip to Tulum here.

August started my three months of unemployment -- which, while stressful, also meant I had a lot of time to visit Disneyland! I basically went once a week for three months and got to spend some time smiling and being happy instead of totally stressing every single moment of the day. And taking a photo at the Up Wall? How could I not? Plus (see next pic)...
I made one of my new amazing friends! Erin (AKA @braidsandbigearrings) and I were both part of the SoCal Blogger Babes. The second I started following her and seeing her content, I just knew we had to be friends -- because she loves fashion AND loves Disneyland, plus is just the coolest and nicest person EVER. She happened to be unemployed for the exact amount of time as I was, so we used our Disney passes once a week!
Taking a photo at the Small World Wall is just a necessity at Disneyland. Smiling in front of it is optional.
I bought tickets to see Ed Sheeran at the Rose Bowl in February. I honestly didn't think the day would ever come ... but come it did, and I got to see him from the 10th row!!
Ed Sheeran. At the Rose Bowl. Playing Galway Girl. Oh, and every other hit. It just didn't get better than this.
My family and I took a trip to Washington, D.C. Even though we've been multiple times, and even though we've done the tour of Ford's Theatre before, none of it ever gets old. I'm glad we were able to get away for a weekend together.
A last minute photo shoot spurred by the fact that I got these fun Grinder Punch sunnies! My friend Jenny gamely walked with me to this Retna wall and snapped so many amazing photos, I basically had enough content to last me for weeks. (Oh yeah, and I used this as a Tinder and Bumble profile pic, too.)
Not only did Vanessa, Erin and I get to see Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men perform at the Hotel Cafe, WE GOT TO MEET HIM! He was so nice and genuine, and come on. HE IS CRAZY TALENTED.

Last year, I visited Felicia in New York. This year, she visited me in LA! And, since she'd never been to Harry Potter World, we went -- and she got us these rad matching tanks!
September marked my 20th high school reunion. OH. MY. GOD. TWENTY YEARS?!? I honestly can't believe it's been that long. Katie and I don't look TOO different than we did back then ... I don't think ...
Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of Vegas. But my best friend Todd moved there this year, and he invited me to visit for a weekend (and he was nice enough to pay for my flight, since I was still unemployed). He showed me such a good time that I actually changed my mind and don't hate it anymore! This was on the High Roller during our first night -- from up above, I finally started to see the beauty of Vegas.
Well, I can't tell you exactly what I did to get this photo with the Chippendales. But let's just say I participated in a game show onstage and I won. And two of them followed me on Instagram after, so I guess I'm kind of famous now.
See infinity hot tub. Make Todd take pictures. Use this as a profile picture everywhere forever.
Todd will always and forever be one of my very favorite people. I miss him now that he lives in Vegas, but I'm glad he's only a short plane ride away.

From our days working together as copywriters at Ralph Lauren to now, my friend Paul and I have never lost touch. We got to catch up during the one night he was in LA this year, and it was like no time had passed at all!
Erin accompanied me to a pretty epic Halloween party, where -- if you can't guess -- I dressed as Minnie Mouse. I never really get into Halloween, but I have to say I loved this costume!
For the past two years, I've gone trick or treating with my cousin Erin and her two awesome kids. I love wandering through their neighborhood and collecting candy, and then we do a big sleepover after! (P.S. I was a cat.)


Another day, another trip to Disneyland with Erin ... this time for my very first Dapper Day! I loved seeing everyone's outfits and pretending to ride in the teacups.
Oh look, another trip to Disneyland ... this time with my brother in tow! He came out to LA for our very first brother/sister weekend and we had an absolute blast!
Spending time with my brother at Golf 'n Stuff, which is in a scene from the original Karate Kid -- a movie we watched, oh, I don't know, about 300 times as kids. We made a special trip to Norwalk to check it out and had so much fun riding the Go-Karts and bumper boats!
Another popup? Of course! Partywith invited me in to check out the space before they opened, and since Evan was in town, I had him come along with me! Check out my review here.
My friends Gerold and Rory adopted the most adorable baby, and I got to meet him when he was only 10 days old. Immediate love affair happening here.
My mom came out to LA for two weeks over Thanksgiving -- our longest visit yet, and our best! We spent a day exploring Beverly Hills, which was beyond fun!
Well, obviously the Sanders ladies had to do a day at Disneyland!

I took my first solo trip just a few weeks ago. I went to San Diego for the weekend and loved every moment of it! I'll be doing a wrapup/travel post on the blog soon, but suffice it to say wandering around the different neighborhoods was just so fun.
My San Diego solo trip was spurred by a cupping appointment I booked with Paloma Sanders of Massage SoCal. Read all about my experience here.
I capped off my first solo vacation with a solo trip to Disneyland! I just decided to pull off the highway and go on my way back, since I was going to pass it anyway. I won't say I'd go alone a lot, but I'm glad I tried it! (And I'm also glad I wore my favorite Wildfox sweatshirt for the occasion!)
Teddy jackets are all the rage right now, so I'm glad Gozon sent me one!
Hanukkah is my favorite holiday because I love lighting the menorah -- even when my candles become a drippy mess, like they did on night five this year.
I spent Christmas Eve with my good friends Chad and Jesse -- they were kind enough to invite me over for dinner along with Chad's parents and a couple other friends. I'm so grateful to have such amazing friends in my life!
My family always does stockings -- and, since we weren't all together for Christmas but are actually all home for New Year's right now, we just did them over the weekend! I bought my mom and Evan the glowing glasses, and funny enough we all bought each other the 💩 lip balm!

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