Check out my recap of the last decade in this decade in review post for 2010-2019!
So the decade is over. Umm…what?! I realize that I’m 30-years-old, and that I’ve actually technically lived in five decades now, three of them full, but this is the first time that I’ve stopped to truly reflect on the enormity of another decade of my life ending.
In this past decade, I experienced my 20s from start to finish, and for anyone who has lived through their 20s, it’s no secret that it is a decade full of growth and change unlike any other. I started last decade as a college sophomore who was very insecure, lost, and had anxiety out the wazoo. I ended the decade as a 30-year-old woman who is proud of the path she’s on, but still living with all that anxiety. Overall, I’ve become a much stronger person, and I’m slowly but surely becoming more self-confident and falling head over heels in love with myself.
Normally, I end the year with a recap of just the year, but the end of a decade is so momentous that I couldn’t resist taking the time to reflect on all of the changes that have happened in the past ten years.
In 2010, I was a sophomore and junior in college. I had just become an orientation leader, and I had no idea that my acceptance into this little elite club would be the first step in me gaining more self-confidence. Being an orientation leader also led me to falling even more in love with college life and also gave me all the school spirit.
At the beginning of the year, I ended a relationship with someone that I had dated for about eight months, and for the first time, I was actually excited about being single. I spent a lot of high school leaning on boyfriends for happiness, but when I ended this relationship, I was excited about the prospect of focusing on myself and being solo. My song of the year was “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo, and every time it came on, I annoyingly let everyone know.
At the end of this year, I turned 21, and I had so much anxiety about throwing a party because I didn’t think anyone would come. Instead, I cooked dinner for my close friends, and I invited people over for a come and go sort of celebration. My friend and roommate, Mandy, also brought me to the Rabb’s drive-through so I could purchase my first legal alcoholic beverage at midnight.
On the second to the last day of the year, after almost an entire year of being single and loving it, I started dating a close friend, and we ended up staying together for about 4 1/2 years.
In 2011, I was a junior and senior in college. I was literally so in love with my life. I loved college, and I loved my friends. We went to and threw some incredibly fun parties. We took every opportunity to dress up in a costume. We took lots of road trips, went to some unforgettable concerts, and attended lots of weddings. I also celebrated my 22nd birthday at Chili’s, and I was so happy that my high school best friend, Tra, got to come celebrate too.
In 2012, I graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management and entrepreneurship. I was, and still am, so proud of myself. My dad drove all the way to Louisiana from Charleston, South Carolina to see me walk, and it meant so much to me. My mom didn’t make it to my graduation, but she threw a ridiculously huge party for me. The fellow grads in my friend group decided we were going to celebrate our graduation with a Carnival cruise, and to this day, it’s one of my favorite vacations.
After graduation, I spent the summer in Honesdale, Pennsylvania working as a photographer at Lake Bryn Mawr, which is an all-girls Jewish summer camp. I’m not Jewish, nor am I a photographer, but they let me work there anyway. I met some incredible people working that summer, some of which I’ve been able to meet up with in the past seven years. I traveled to Philadelphia for the first time, went to New York City, spent at a day at Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and went to Lake Placid. I had never gone to summer camp as a kid, so this was a super fun experience for me.
When the summer ended, I started working as a manager trainee at a loan company in my college town. I hated it. I tried to ignore my sorrows by getting a pet, and I adopted a hedgehog named Flitwick. He was sassy and adorable, and I loved him. After two months of misery and crying everyday after work, I quit my job, moved back in with my parents, and started working at a hotel as a guest service agent, aka front desk. I was super discouraged to have a college degree and be working for $10/hour doing something that I didn’t need a degree for, but mentally, it was the best thing for me. I ended up loving my job at the hotel, and I made some friends in the process.
I also got a promotion during the summer. I moved from being a guest service agent to the sales coordinator, and it was exactly the change I needed at the time. I loved my new job, and I loved having a desk. I would call my office phone just to hear my voicemail, and I carried my business cards in my purse even though I had no one to give them out to.
I was lucky to do some traveling in 2013, including my first beach trip with my girlfriend group, TASK (Tiffany, Amanda, Sarah, Katherine). We took a road trip to Gulf Shores in Alabama and had an absolute blast. I also went to Austin with my sister, Bre. We went to the Austin Teen Book Festival, and I geeked out over my favorite YA authors. It was also our first time going to Austin, and we took advantage by exploring and eating some good food.
So many incredible things happened this year. Firstly, I did a ton of traveling. My sister and I took two trips together this year. After my sister graduated from high school, we took a trip with EF College Break to London, Paris, and Rome. This is seriously one of my favorite vacations I’ve ever been on. We also went to Austin again for the renamed Texas Teen Book Festival, and I, again, geeked out over my favorite authors. The next day, we went to Dallas for a Comic Con where we met James and Oliver Phelps, aka the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.
In addition to traveling with my sister, I also took another beach trip with TASK to Gulf Shores.
Most importantly, I adopted a sweet dachshund mix named Molly who became my world for the next two years.
2015 was a huge travel year. I went to Houston, Texas for Supernatural Con (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) because I’m a huge nerd, and this is still one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I also traveled for work for the first time, and I went to New Orleans and Dallas. I went to Houston again later in the year to meet up with some college friends to see James Bay. I went to Dallas to go to the 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. What. A. Dream. I went to my first music festival with my sister. We went to Austin for Austin City Limits. I also took a nice long road trip at the end of the year where I went to Johnson City, Tennessee and met my blog bestie, Christina from Hugs and Lattes, and I also visited a friend in Wilmington, North Carolina, and spent Christmas with my family in Charleston, South Carolina.
My college roomies and I had a reunion in Chicago where I got to see Taylor Swift for the third time at her 1989 tour. Mentally, 2015 was the hardest year for me. I broke up with my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years, and I started a non-relationship with a guy who was the textbook term for awful. I got caught up in a lifestyle that I didn’t understand. I was a stranger to even myself, and I thought about committing suicide. Traveling to Chicago was a huge wake-up call for me. Spending time with two people who had loved me for years and Taylor’s epic speech before she sang “Clean” were the things that started to turn my funk around.
I went skydiving. Casual.
I hosted a Friendsgiving this year, and I only mention it because it literally changed my life (#dramatic). I invited the neighbors over, and one of them invited a girl named Alyssa. Alyssa and I ended up hanging out again, and when I invited her to my 26th birthday party, she said she was having a party on the same day, and we decided to combine parties. At this party, I met a bunch of people that would end up defining my 2016, and all of these events would eventually lead to me meeting Kyle.
This was one of my favorite years of the decade. After meeting all of those incredible people my and Alyssa’s joint birthday-Christmas party, I ended up having an epic year full of parties, events, and just everyday hangouts. I was seriously out of the house almost everyday, and I genuinely don’t know how I was still a functional human being.
The biggest downfall of my year was that my pup, Molly, passed away. She was an old lady, and I did know it was coming, but that didn’t make it any easier. I held her for over an hour the night before she died, and I just let her know that it was okay if she needed to go because I knew she was hurting. She died in her sleep that night, and I’m crying just typing these words.
Now onto happier things…
I took some fun road trips this year. I went to Fort Walton Beach, Florida for a family vacation. I also went to Dallas for my friend, Sarah’s, bachelorette party. I took a day trip with some girlfriends to go to Hot Springs in Arkansas. My favorite road trip was going to Gulf Shores for Hangout Music Festival. This was my favorite music festival out of the three that I went to this decade. It was an absolute blast!
Another highlight of 2016 was going to Nashville for the first time to meet my blog besties, Christina and Erica from Coming Up Roses. Even though Christina and I had hung out before, this was my first time meeting Erica. We had such a fun weekend, and it was like hanging out with girlfriends that I had already known for years.
My blog started getting recognized by some local people in Shreveport/Bossier, and I ended up being asked to film a commercial for the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. Most of the places I mentioned in my commercial don’t exist anymore, but I still feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to write my own script and film it. I was also asked to serve on a panel called “Telling Your Story” for the Shreveport Bossier Attractions Association.
One incredible and life-changing this I did this year was quit my job at the hotel to work for Carnival Cruise Lines. This is still something that I can’t believe that I did. I had been on two cruises prior to working for Carnival, and I loved it, but I never thought about actually working for them. I don’t really remember how it all came to fruition, but I got hired fairly quickly, and I started my adventure at sea toward the end of October.
I spent the first half of this year working for Carnival and literally having the time of my life. I checked a lot of things off of my bucket list and had many experiences that probably should have been on my bucket list. I swam with dolphins and with stingrays. I rode a horse on the beach. I went to Atlantis, which made my Olsen twin-loving heart so very happy. I went paddleboarding. I went to Mile 0. I just genuinely had the most incredible first contract, and I was so lucky to meet people from all over the world. It wasn’t an all-around perfect experience. My mental health did go on an up-and-down rollercoaster for some of it, but overall, I loved my experience working on the Carnival Elation.
When my first contract ended, I went home and made the most of hanging out with my friends. I went to Hangout Music Festival again, and even though the acts were incredible, I didn’t have as much fun as I did the first time.
I started hanging out with Kyle more, and it eventually led to us dating. Now we’ve been together for more than 2 1/2 years, and I never stop reminding myself how lucky we are to have each other.
After two months at home, I started another contract with Carnival, but I was absolutely miserable. I ended up quitting after about a month and coming home to work at the hotel again. I was so fortunate that my old position was still available. I also had so much fun hanging out with my friends again and reinserting myself into their regular lives.
I also became an aunt! My sister had a little boy that she named Cooper. I got to meet him on my visit to Charleston that summer. My brother also had a daughter named Luz, nicknamed Lulu. I feel so lucky to be an aunt to both of those cuties.
2018 was a huge transitional year for me. It started out the same as previous years with lots of travel and spending time with friends. I went to Philadelphia to meet up with Kyle while he was away for training for work. I also went to Las Vegas and Los Angeles to attend his graduation and do some traveling, including seeing my high school best friend, Tra. I got to meet up with one of my ship friends, Sharene, when she came to visit Monroe to watch another ship friend, Holli, participate in the Miss Louisiana pageant (and she won!). Kyle and I also took a trip to New Orleans.
The major life event that happened this year was that Kyle asked me to move with him to Dayton, Ohio. I had called Louisiana home for 12 years (minus the year or so I spent working for Carnival), and I said good-bye to the south at the end of the summer. We took an epic road trip to Ohio and visited Destin, Tampa, and Orlando, Charleston, Seattle, and Orcas Island in Washington.
I initially had a hard time adjusting to life Ohio. I was extremely unhappy, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had no friends. I spent the entire decade surrounded by people and forming easy friendships in strange circumstances, but Ohio was different. I also had a hard time finding a job, which made things even harder. The tough job hunt ended up being a blessing because as a last resort, I decided to apply for a job in childcare. I fell in love with working with children and decided to go back to school to become an elementary education teacher.
Ohio also opened up a lot of opportunities for travel and road trips. We went to Nashville for Kyle’s birthday. It was his first visit, and we had so much fun. I flew to Houston to meet up with my college roomies for Taylor Swift’s reputation tour, which was obviously incredibly epic. Kyle and celebrated Thanksgiving in Charleston, and I got to meet my niece and sister-in-law for the first time. I turned 29 in Indianapolis. Kyle planned out the whole weekend, and we had such a sweet vacation. Our last trip of the year was to Orcas Island to spend Christmas with Kyle’s sister and her family.
This month I was setting into my job. I was still working at a childcare center, but I started working at one closer to home. I also started working with one-year-olds instead of children 3-5-years-old.
The biggest thing that happened this month was that Kyle and I adopted Gunther. As soon as I saw Gunther I knew he was the one. Kyle wasn’t immediately sold, but from the moment he stepped into our little apartment, we knew he was part of the family. He’s brought us so much joy since then.
Kyle’s family also paid us a visit this month, and I went on my first ever snow hike. It was definitely an adventure, considering I didn’t have a proper winter coat or winter boots. It was absolutely gorgeous though.
I properly started therapy this month. I had spoken with one woman who completely dismissed the things I told her about my mental health. Luckily, I tried a different therapist in February who gave me an official diagnosis of having generalized anxiety disorder. I ended up sticking with this therapist until the end of the year. She seriously changed my life, and I don’t know how I could ever fully thank her for speaking with me, sharing her experiences, and giving me advice and actionable things to do to help manage my anxiety.
This month, I officially started making strides toward getting my post-baccalaureate in elementary education. I had three pre-requisite classes I needed to take before I could fully enroll in the program, and I started the first of those this month.
I also hosted my first get-together in Ohio. I had a few girls over to celebrate Galentine’s Day while Kyle was out of town. It was so much fun, but I actually stopped hanging out with some of the girls since then. Creating and keeping meaningful friendships has been the biggest struggle for me in Ohio, especially knowing that we would only spend a year and a half here. I’m thankful for this memory though. It was such a fun night full of wine, painting, and girl power.
In March, I had “new perspective, new me” haircut. Seeing photos of it makes me want to cut it again, but I also love when my hair grows out.
Kyle, Gunther, and I took a road trip to Townsend, Tennessee for a wedding. Townsend is the teeniest town, and I didn’t even get cell phone service, but we ended up having a lovely time on our trip. We drove to Gatlinburg and visited the Great Smoky Mountains, and we also explored their main city area. The wedding was small, intimate, and gorgeous.
At the end of the month, Kyle and I took a trip to Chicago to visit one of his friends. It was so fun to see the city from a local’s perspective. I also got to meet up with a camp friend that I made in 2012, Kelsey. I went to one of her improv shows, and it was hilariously amazing. It was so nice to catch up, albeit briefly.
This month, Kyle and I took a day trip to Columbus. It was our first time really getting to explore the city.
I also went to Cincinnati for dinner to meet up with my friend, Menda, an old co-worker from the hotel I worked for in Louisiana. It was so nice getting to have dinner. It felt like being back at home for a couple hours.
My goal for April was “Arranging April,” so I binged Marie Kondo, got rid of so much stuff and reorganized everything I kept.
Taylor Swift’s song, “ME!” came out, thus beginning my obsession with the Lover era. I also did some volunteering at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton where Kyle and I adopted Gunther.
I did “Municipality May” where I experienced something new in Dayton everyday. It was a month full of living like locals. I tried many new restaurants, took Gunther on a few new hiking trails, did goat yoga, went to my first Cirque du Soleil show, saw the new Pokemon movie at a drive-in, went to a Dragons baseball game, and so much more. It was such a fun month!
Kyle and I went to Louisville to go to the Kentucky Derby. The actual Derby was rainy, cold, and miserable, and I had a lot of fun hanging out with Kyle’s cousins and exploring Louisville outside of the Derby. We also went to Cincinnati for a friend’s birthday, and I went to my first Cincinnati Reds game. I loved it! The last road trip we took this month was to Chesterland, right outside of Cleveland, to visit Kyle’s sister and her family.
Kyle and I celebrated two years together at the end of the month. We celebrated with dinner at the Melting Pot, which is somewhere I’ve been wanting to eat for literal years. We were then promptly hit with a tornado. We lost power for several days, but luckily, we personally didn’t experience any damage to our home, and our cars weren’t beat up too bad. Our neighbors weren’t so lucky. Experiencing this made me fall in love with Dayton because it was so beautiful to see the city rally together.
One of my favorite trips of the year was going to Colorado. It’s hard not to fall in love with the beauty of Colorado Springs. Kyle and I went to one of his old classmate’s weddings, which took place at the chapel at the US Air Force Academy. This was my first visit to Colorado, and I instantly became obsessed. We explored Colorado Springs for a few days, visiting some of Kyle’s favorite spots, hiking, and going on a cheesy haunted lantern tour. We also went to Denver where I got to have brunch with an old college friend. We also made a last minute decision to go to Wicked, which was even more amazing than I could have imagined.
A huge highlight of June was going to Denver to see the gals of Wine and Crime podcast live. I also got to meet the gals, and they were so complimentary of my outfit and my hair. We also talked about Harry Potter and anxiety, and Amanda said she “Loved everything about this,” pointing to both Kyle and me. Kyle and I also spent some time exploring both Denver and Ann Arbor.
Another highlight of June was getting to meet my favorite YA author, Sarah Dessen. I had seen her speak at a panel earlier in the year, but I actually got to meet her when she was was on her The Rest of the Story book tour.
We went to two concerts in June:
1 | Pentatonix in Columbus – Citizen Queen and Rachel Platten opened for them.
2 | Ariana Grande in Indianapolis – We sat in the very last row in our section and still had the most fun. We also stayed on a private farm, and we got to mingle with some horses, goats, donkeys, potbelly pigs, and other animals.
I was determined to make the most of my summer, so Kyle and I did a lot of local adventuring this month. We went canoeing, which was probably one of my favorite days in Dayton. We also went on a double date to go ax throwing. We went to Celtic Fest and had jammed a little too hard too the music, and we went to the “beach” at Buck Creek State Park.
Kyle’s sister-in-law, niece, and nephew visited this month, so we spent a few days living in an AirBnB with them. I had to work, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as I wanted to, but I did get to take them to the park, watch a movie, and eat a few meals with them.
In August, we took advantage of a free weekend to visit a state we had never been to before – West Virginia. We took an overnight trip to Charleston, West Virginia and had a surprisingly great time. We stayed in a bed and breakfast, went to a multicultural festival, took a hike, wandered downtown, and took Gunther kayaking.
While we were in Charleston, there was a shooting in the Oregon District. It was so surreal. Even though we weren’t even in town, it was scary to think that somewhere we love and frequently go was taken over by a person with a lot of hate in his heart. If we hadn’t planned to leave town, we could have easily been there. Some of our friends were. Luckily, everyone we know was okay, but it’s still heartbreaking to think of all the people who lost their lives that night.
Dave Chapelle put together an event called Gem City Shine to help bring the community back together and heal. We didn’t get to attend the event, but Kyle and I did make it to the Sunday Service. I’m not a fan of Kanye, but the event was beautiful, and I’m glad we could be a part of it.
On a lighter note, Kyle and I went to a few local festivals this month. We went to Germanfest, which had some incredible food. We went to the Dayton porch fest, which probably would’ve been easier to navigate if we didn’t take Gunther with us, but #norAgrets. We also visited the Oregon District for the first time a couple weeks after the shooting. The area was transformed with inspiring words filled with hope, tributes to those who lost their lives, and lots of signs sporting the phrase “Dayton Strong.”
Kyle and I took a day trip to Cincinnati for a horseback riding day date. Even though my legs were sore for days after, I had an absolute blast going on the trail ride. My horse’s name was Star, and he took every opportunity to snack along the way. Afterward, we took some time to explore the city a little more.
I went to see the Jonas Brothers in concert with two friends Columbus. This was actually my second time seeing them; the first was when they were the openers for Miley Cyrus’s Hannah Montana Meets Miley Cyrus tour. Bebe Rexha was one of the openers, and she was absolute dream boat. I was so inspired by her.
We went to a couple festivals this month, including Italian Fest and an Oktoberfest that kept running out of food and beer. We went to our first Renaissance festival, which apparently is a huge deal in Dayton. It was basically like visiting a little town. It was actually a lot of fun. The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that they didn’t have any rotisserie chickens.
One of my favorite things Kyle and I did together locally was take a cooking class at Little City Cooking School. We made some Spanish tapas and had way too good of a time cooking and eating together. We cook at home together all the time, but it was awesome getting to make things we probably wouldn’t have tried making otherwise. I definitely would love to take another class in the future.
We ended the month with a trip to St. Louis, Missouri. We met up with one of our friends from Louisiana who now lives in Kansas City, Missouri. This was my first trip to the city, and I was actually kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Kyle turned 28 this month, and we celebrated by going on a brewery hop with some of his friends. I also made him a disaster-piece of a birthday cake. He was sweet and ate a good bit of it though.
My biggest partnership of the year was with Big Lots, but I actually partnered with them on Instagram and my YouTube channel, rather than on my blog. You can check out the video I did with them below. I gave my master bedroom a makeover for a little over $200.
Spooky season is my second favorite season of the year, so I was determined to do a mix of scary and fall things. We drove to Cincinnati to go to the USS Nightmare, which is a haunted boat. The wait was ridiculous, but the actual haunted boat was a lot of fun. We took Gunther to the pumpkin patch, and he was a hit, as per usual. To celebrate Halloween, we went to Hauntfest for the second year in a row. It was rainy, but we still managed to enjoy it.
Most of the fall and spooky things we did happened on our visit to Chesterland to meet up with Kyle’s family. We went to a pumpkin patch to eat some donuts and drink apple cider. We also went to Boo at the Zoo at the Cleveland Zoo, and we dressed up as Cookie Monster and Big Bird to match Kyle’s nephew, who dressed up as Elmo.
One of my favorite things Kyle and I did this month was go to Cincinnati to see Mean Girls The Musical. It was SO FETCH! But really, it was amazing.
We got into the Christmas spirit pretty early this year, and we put up our Christmas decorations on November 2nd #noshame. We went to the Carillon Christmas tree lighting, and it was our first time visiting Carillon Historical Park. It wasn’t as Christmassy as I was hoping, but we enjoyed learning about the Wright Brothers and sipping on some hot apple cider.
I threw a Friendsgiving this year, and I’m so happy that I did. Even though most of the guests were Kyle’s friends, it just felt really awesome to be a host again. It’s something I truly miss about living in Louisiana. It was nice to be surrounded by people who care about us, and the food was crazy good.
My actual favorite thing I did this month was go to Canada! It’s been a few years since I left the states, so I was excited to cross that northern border and visit Toronto and Montreal. We spent Thanksgiving in Toronto, which was fun, but the real highlight was Montreal.
Continuing with all the Christmassy and winter-y things, Kyle and I started our December with an ice skating date night downtown. We also took Gunther to meet Santa, and we visited Clifton Mill where we saw some beautiful light displays and the creepiest Santa collection that you didn’t know you wanted to see.
The biggest thing that happened in December was I turned 30! Kyle and I went to Virginia for his cousin’s wedding, and then we spent my birthday and the day after in Washington, D.C. Kyle planned out the whole trip, and it was absolutely incredible. This was my first time going to Washington, D.C., and I wanted to do all the things, which, of course, is impossible to do in a day and a half. Kyle managed to fit a lot into our itinerary, including eating at a Michelin Star restaurant, which was on my 30 before 30 list.
We spent Christmas with Kyle’s family in Pinckney, Michigan. It was so nice getting to take a full week off of work to just relax and spend time with Kyle and his family. We spent most of the time in our cozy clothes, and it was the best. We also went to see the Christmas lights at the Denver Zoo. This is the third zoo I’ve gone been to to see zoo lights, and it never gets old.
Kyle and I ended the year on our couch in our pajamas. We popped some champagne, watched the ball drop, kissed at midnight, and then promptly went to sleep.
What was the highlight of your decade?