If we are being honest, I am not ready for 2018 to end. I recall, so vividly, this time last year writing about how crippling 2017 had been and how 2018 was going to be the “year of the rise”… and rise it did! It isn’t that I have bad feelings about 2019, but I am going to miss 2018, I have just gotten comfortable with this year, despite all the changes it brought.
I have been going over 2018 in my head the last couple of days. I think back to this time last year, and at all the uncertainty it held when I looked into the new year. For example, I had no idea where I would be after graduation (or that I would get a dog in 2018)!!
I had so many unforgettable moments in 2018. From dream achievements to life learning realizations, 2018 was a year I will never forget.
Below, in no particular order, I am going to recap important moments from 2018, as well as lessons I learned along the way. Walk back through my year with me, if you’d like:
•Graduating college...in the moment, it doesn’t feel like such a big deal...but, it’s the moments afterwards that make it feel like the greatest thing you have ever done. I find myself telling people, “don’t graduate...the real world is not all it’s cut out to be,” which in turn makes me feel very old. However, I have grown more in the past six months since I walked across that stage on May 12, 2018, than I have in a many years combined. I graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Strategic Communications with two minors in Film, TV, Digital Media, & Communication Studies. I never thought that moment would come, and I believe that feeling of accomplishing something so pivotal, will always feel like magic.
•My last semester in college reminded me of my own strength, and one in which I had no idea I possessed. I removed toxic relationships and people from my life because I knew in order to find myself and be happy, I had to do so. (That’s a whole other conversation for a whole other post). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It wasn’t until I made that decision, and followed through, that I rose up from a dark hole I had been in for a while. My strength comes from God and my strength these days is unmatched.
•On June 2, 2018, after booking a last minute trip to Chicago, my best friend and I, both unemployed at the time, saw my favorite artist in the pouring down rain. Little did I know, I would end up seeing Taylor Swift 3 more times in 2018, but this moment in the windy city with Stephanie Bell, is the one I will be telling my kids about. We had so many worries about our unknown futures at the time. Regardless, we danced like no one was watching and I cried when Taylor surprised the audience by singing “22” because Steph and I were both 22 and in that stadium, at that moment, I felt like all was right with the world.
•I started working in the agriculture industry just two months before my grandfather retired from the same industry/company after 53 years. In that short overlapping time, I learned a lot about him and how much of a legend he is to those he has worked with and come across in his time at Riceland Foods, and in this industry. Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I was to be able to witness this, and I consider myself very lucky for this connection we formed in 2018. Again, we are so proud of his accomplishments, and we still celebrate his retirement every single day.
•I learned that God brought me back home to Arkansas after graduation to build me up. I know I am here, for now, to be showered with love and encouragement. I could not have done 2018 without my family. My parents are working harder than ever, plus they have me back at home part time. I have been able to attend most of my brother’s senior events as he prepares for graduation. I was able to see first hand him fall in love with a school and make his college decision. We had many great weekends in Fayetteville together. And another bonus, I have been able to be closer to my sister, Madison, than I ever have felt. I live with my aunt and uncle part time and it has been a time I will always cherish. I have spent so much time with my best friends from high school Maycen, Stephanie and Leighton. I feel more connected to them than ever. I also believe, Leighton Lawson takes the prize for favorite friend of 2018. There is no one like her and I love looking back at how our friendship grew this past year. I’ve also gotten to help with the family businesses and watch the different stores grow. Having a role in that feels very rewarding and makes me feel more a part of the team than ever. All of this, and them, have lifted me up to where I am today.
•The year wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Every day I learn more about mental health and battle my own demons. 2018 taught me that social media has such a negative effect on me, and many others, mentally. I haven’t figured it out yet, and I don’t know how I am going to fix it, but it is often a daily struggle for me and I know others feel the same. We constantly compare ourselves and allow likes to define us. I am hoping in 2019 I can find a way to be on social media in the most positive way, and I hope to help others as well.
•Southern and Thankful officially became an LLC (limited liability company) in 2018. It was a gift from my parents to me this Christmas, and it showed me that they believe in me and my dreams. I launched a new podcast with the queen of my life, Grace Lamb. 2019, is going to be a big year as the blog and company grows. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things in place. Stay tuned!
I could go on and on about the trips I took, the friendships I formed, the mistakes I made, the delicious food I ate, the people I miss, the concerts I attended, or the lessons I learned, but I want to end with this…
One complement I have been receiving since the Podcast dropped is, “you sound happier than I’ve ever heard you.” Numerous people have said that, and when I hear this, I tear up because those words could not be more true. In 2018, I set out to learn how to love myself. On the last day of an incredible year, I can say with a 100% confidence that I achieved that goal. I love the way I look and feel. But even more, I love the person I am, and the heart I have. I believe wholeheartedly that you cannot love others or love your life, until you love yourself. I don’t love myself in a vein or selfish way, I promise. I love myself in a way that is healthy and in the way God taught me to. I aim to build on these things and hit 2019 running. I’m ready for the new challenges, memories, and to see where God takes me. I pray he protects my heart and mind everyday and that he continues to build me up. However, I know that when the time comes for whatever God has planned for me next, that I will be able to take all of this love and “buildups” on to the next path.
Thank you God for this year. Thank you for 2018. Happy New Year!
Southern and Thankful
Sometimes life is just funny... I feel like it has been ages since I've written. Truthfully, I’ve been pretty busy, working hard on several projects. So, let me tell you all about them!!! (Sorry this is going to be a longer post)
First, however, let me fill you in on a few things. Right after Thanksgiving, my AMAZING grandparents went with me to Fort Worth to clean out my storage unit. Ever since I graduated in May, I have had my things like furniture, my bed, etc. in a storage unit there because at the time I didn’t know what my next move would be. So, It just made sense to leave things there until I knew. Flash forward to today, and I still don’t know— SHOCKING lol— but since my family owns some storage units in my hometown, it made the most sense now to stop paying for that one unit all the way in Texas. Plus, all my winter sweatpants and joggers were in my unit down in Texas and I was needing them to wear sooner rather than later. My grandparents, JanJan and Bia, love me with this unconditional love that is so special. They drove down with me one day, and back the next, without me, but with a u-haul containing all my things, ans driving in the pouring rain. I needed to stay for a photoshoot and return to Arkansas the next day. I cannot thank them enough!!
It was also very bittersweet to be officially closing that TCU chapter in my life. In my mind, it wasn’t finished until I cleaned out that unit. Such a special place and time in my heart! However, it feels good to have all my things in one place making life a little more organized.
When I returned from Texas I actually flew in to Hot Springs because my car was there and I took this super small flight— Southern Air— into the Hot Springs airport. That week, my boss’s were out of town therefore, I got to work from wherever I wanted. I chose the Lake because in addition to work, i was launching some new things and this gave me the perfect place and peacefulness to get things done. I cannot tell you how I long for that week back. One of my favorite weeks post-grad thus far. And speaking of launching new things...
My new projects:
My darling friend, Grace Lamb, and I dropped our podcast called Saturation. We love pop culture, entertainment, celebrity news, and more. We constantly DM back and forth on Instagram about what’s going on in the world. Therefore, we decided to record a weekly podcast to share our thoughts and updates with YOU. I will put the links below on both Apple and Spotify.
This was a huge dream come true for me. It is a lot of work each week to edit, record, produce, and bring this to you, but it is so worth it. Also, we had to get the podcast approved after the first episode was recorded so that we could be on the primary streaming services. And we got approved!! THAT WAS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT. I hope you will give it a listen and tell all your friends. Episode 4 comes out next week!!
2. THE 411
This is very similar to the podcast, but this one is just me each week. It’s my weekly newsletter that you receive to your e-mail after subscribing. I, in a very skimmed down fashion, update you on all things going on in pop culture + my life. I almost have 200 people that have subscribed which is crazy cool. To sign up, all you have to do is go to my homepage, follow the instructions, and you’ll get it every Tuesday!
3. NEW WEBSITE
I am currently in the process of getting a makeover online. My new website is coming in early 2019 and I can’t wait for you to see it. It is going to be so wonderful and allow me to take my blogging to the next level as well as bring back the fashion blogging element. Stay tuned!!
I am continually praying for God to guide me in the right direction. Here’s to hard work and a little fun along the way!
I tell you all of this to also share a quick story. I really needed that time alone at the lake to wrap up and release these projects, but also to spend some time with myself reflecting on this year. I felt such peace and protection while I was there. I am so grateful for that. However, you know I have a funny story.
You are probably wondering why this is titled “HOME ALONE” just like the famous Christmas movie. When I realized I was going to be over there for a while, I knew I needed to go to the grocery store. This is where my “Kevin McAllister from Home Alone” moment happened. I’m 23 years old. I’ve been to the grocery store alone, but I felt like everyone was looking at me the way they look at Kevin in the movie. I was buying the most random things... trying to be responsible, but also i’m a kid at heart. The check out person gave me that look like, where’s your Mom?” I spent the whole week Home Alone cooking mac and cheese like Kevin, putting up my small Christmas decorations like Kevin, and enjoying a little freedom like Kevin. When it came time to drive home to my family at the end of the week I found myself excited to see them like Kevin. I missed them like Kevin.
This Home Alone moment, this time of the year, made me feel extremely grateful for my family. After being in school a whole state away and not being able to see them as often, I’ve really enjoyed being around them. I have never been more close with them. It’s extremely unique, and one thing I am most thankful for this holiday season. Surround yourself with loved ones this Christmas. After all, they are the best gift. If you don’t have anyone or feel alone this Christmas, call me! You are always welcome to surround yourself with my loved ones.
Also, might I add...thank goodness I didn’t need two criminals breaking into my house to make me realize how much I loved my family!!
Merry Christmas y’all! Be thankful!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A recent graduate from Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!